Finding family-friendly trails with Trail Collectiv

People often think that taking your kids hiking is a choice. You either go hiking, or you don’t.

But that isn’t true.

There are barriers to exploring new places and these barriers can make families feel like hiking is not something that their family “can do”. Significant barriers include not knowing enough about hiking, thinking that hiking is something that must be difficult, and not knowing enough about an area to spend the time discovering the new place.

A new app and community created by two moms, Annika Mang and Jess Sproat, called TrailCollectiv is working to break down the barriers for families and redefine how they find trails to hike together.

The app, available on the Apple Store and on Google Play, is a constantly evolving hiking guide for families that provides specific information that families need to know about a trail.

When these barriers are broken down, co-founders Annika and Jess have noticed that lives can be changed. Take one mom based in Alberta who learned about new places to explore with her kids. She said, “I became more active, quit smoking, and started to connect with my kids all because I knew where to take them outdoors.”

The app focuses on providing detailed information in a clean and easy to use format. A five-category difficulty rating for each hike ranges from Easiest, Easy, Moderate, Hard and Hardest. That way, you can choose a beautiful, short 1 km forest wander to a creek with minimal elevation or a more difficult 8 km with 1300 m hike to a viewpoint depending on your preferences.

Other features allow you to save trails to complete later, find directions to a trailhead, follow yourself on GPS on the trail map when in service, and complete trails to look back on the number of hikes, elevation, and distance your family has completed.

The detailed information within each trail has families at the top of mind. They made sure that each trail included the adventures that kids love like are their bridges, interpretive signs, a waterfall, or a great swimming hole/place to throw rocks. Amenities were important to add so that families could know things like whether there is a bathroom on site, a playground, or a mini golf course.

Accessibility is important for each trail so that everyone can be included on a family adventure. The app notes terrain like whether the trail is hard packed, pavement, uneven, or steep. Each trail lets families know if a trail is wheelchair accessible, all-terrain stroller accessible, city stroller accessible, and in some cases, the trail has a TrailRider Rating.

The TrailCollectiv app helps families feel more prepared and safe on the trail by including safety notes for each trail. It is important to note that the app is not a safety app and double checking trail reports on local sites is always a good idea. The app allows families to feel more confident by knowing important information before hitting the trail like if the hike has little shade and is very hot, if there are cliffs on the trail, or whether large wildlife like bears or cougars are located to ensure they are prepared with bear spray.

There should never be a barrier to the outdoors. The outdoors reduces stress, anxiety, improves mental and physical health, and builds connections. The new TrailCollectiv app is working hard to reduce these barriers and make sure that everyone can access the outdoors.


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