You hear it all the time, kids aren’t spending enough time outdoors. It’s an astounding change in the upbringing of America’s children. Their parents spent everyday outdoors, sometimes dawn to dusk. Today’s children often are too busy in structured activities and technology to experience finding a cicadid shell or collecting as many rocks as their shirt can hold.
If you’re trying to reconnect your child with nature, consider going on a nature walk at one of these area locations:
Fall Line Trace
This trail runs through part of Columbus, starting at Pslamond Road in Midland and ending at the 14th Street pedestrian bridge Uptown. The trail is smooth concrete and has access points throughout town, with occasional rest stops along the way. It connects to the Riverwalk for a total of 26 miles of walkable terrain.
This 15-mile linear park spans the riverfront from the Lake Oliver city Marina south to the National Infantry Museum. When on this concrete path, expect to see fishermen, bicyclists, rafters and more. It provides a great view of the river and wildlife.
Roosevelt State Park
2970 GA-190, Pine Mountain, GA
Georgia’s largest state park has 42 miles of hiking trails. Experience rolling mountains, small waterfalls, towering pines and more. A must-try trail is Dowdell’s Knob loop, the views are breathtaking.
Providence Canyon State Park
8930 Canyon Road, Lumpkin
Often referred to as “Little Grand Canyon” the Providence Canyon is a direct result of poor farmer practices in the 1800s that caused significant erosion. Despite that, it is a beautiful and unique sight to see. The canyon is home to 10+ miles of hiking trails and hosts gullies up to 150 feet deep with pink, red and orange soil.
Standing Boy Creek
1701-1891 Old River Road, Columbus
The newest trail in Columbus GA, Standing Boy Trail, offers 25 miles of natural surface trail. The trails are marked for different skill levels, including kid-friendly trails. These trails are multi-use trails used by bicyclists, hikers and runners and are very well shaded.
For a map of trails, closures and more, visit their website at
TIPS FOR TAKING YOUR KIDS ON A NATURE WALK
Let your child lead: Where’s the rush? Your child will enjoy being in control of the pace and direction. Of course, use your best judgment and only allow your child to take designated trails.
Allow Exploration: If your child wants to spend an extended amount of time staring at tree branches or flipping rocks for worms, let them! Really, the woods provide endless opportunities for discoveries, big and small. You’d be surprised how long you can discuss the different textures of leaves or branches.
Be prepared: Bring bug spray, sunscreen and a first-aid kit to be prepared for what nature may bring your way. Always pack protein-packed snacks for your hike, as you’ll be burning lots of energy. Of course, you also need an abundance of water. Your child may like to have their own backpack with supplies, but don’t overdo it as you will likely end up carrying this bag too.
Be mindful: Yes, we’re in the great outdoors and you want to connect with nature and shut out the worries of the world…but, we’re parents. Before you hike, be aware of the natural dangers of the area. These dangers include venomous snakes, coyotes, poison ivy, unexpected changes in terrain, deep waters and roadways. After hiking, always do a thorough check for ticks, as they carry diseases.