Ready to take your Troop hiking? Here are a few tips!
Before you head off on your hike make sure to plan and prepare by checking the weather, making sure everyone has a map, knowing what the availability of facilities and where water is located. Have your Girl Scouts brush up on their Leave No Trace principals beforehand to avoid shocking them on the trail.
The foundation of your hike is the daypack, so work with your Troop to prepare it! If you’re leading Daisies on their first hike, make sure they wear a light day pack with only snacks and water. A good rule of thumb is for young beginner hikers is to cover a mile in 30-45 minutes. As they progress in Girl Scouting, they can add more to their pack, and more miles to their hike!
Below you will find a quick list of hikes perfect for your first venture outdoors with your Troop. Remember that Southern Arizona is filled with beautiful nature so why not check it out! Share your experience online with the hashtag, “#gsoutdoors”.
Sabino Canyon has many short and easy nature walks starting at the visitor center. Check out their naturalist page to see the calendar of children programs and to schedule a Talk and Walk. When the stream is running, bring a snack and watch wildlife from a safe distance.
Saguaro National Park (East)
The Freeman Homestead Trail has a 1-mile hike with awesome interpretive signs along the way. There’s a lot of wildlife to see here, especially down in the wash near the cliff side. Keep your eyes peeled for a Ringtail lounging on a tree limb, or a pair of Great Horned Owls watching you from a tree. Before you go, check out the map to see the cactus forest and the web of trails at the Park that you can customize based on the distance and elevation you want your Troop to try.
Saguaro National Park (West)
King’s Canyon trailhead is linked to King’s Canyon wash, which is a two mile walk with petroglyphs hidden in the wash on the rocks. Daisies might need a hand to get down to the wash, but there are steps throughout the trail. Just like Saguaro National Park East, check out the map to design how far you want to go!
BONUS: Teach your girls to be Innovators by designing their route ahead of time!
Who doesn’t love Mount Lemmon? Although there are many to choose from, check out Rose Canyon Lake Trail #37. This easier trail leads hikers around the water’s edge and provides many spots for photography, bird watching and just pain strolling. The one-mile loop even features some logs near the water which is a great spot to sit back and enjoy a snack.
Catalina State Park
This state park is more than just a great spot to hike; it would be the perfect place for a Troop’s first camping trip! For some easy hikes, check out the Nature Trail which is a one-mile loop beginning at the Trailhead parking lot and wanders through typical desert scrub vegetation of the low foothills. The trail features great interpretive signs regarding the local wildlife, plants and geology. Also beginning in the Trailhead parking lot, try the one-mile Bird Trail. It crosses a wash, and if its flowing it may result in wet feet and some fun!
Xitlaly loves connecting people to the outdoors! You’ll often find her sitting on a thinking rock, leafing through a wildlife guide, or eating a PB&J on the trail. Xitlaly is also known as Baja during camp! She got her camp name because she found her love for the outdoors during family camping trips to the beach in Baja California, Mexico.
Xitlaly is available for troop visits and plans monthly outdoor programs. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.