How to Hike Galten (Mini Trolltunga)


Galten, aka mini Trolltunga, is a unique rock that juts out of the mountainside over Dalsfjord and is covered in greenery.  This picturesque spot is still relatively unknown.  When we hiked it, we truly had the trail to ourselves and the hike was nothing short of spectacular.  We highly recommend getting off the beaten path, stopping in Folkestad and hiking Galten when you are in Norway.  Here is our guide on how to hike Galten in Norway.   

Galten Hike

FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in early September.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter.  For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


How long is the Galten (Mini Trolltunga) Hike?  How much elevation gain is on the Galten Hike? 

Galten hike is an out & back hike that is 2.6 miles (4.2 km) with 1535 feet (471 meters) of elevation gain.  If you start prior to the toll road, as we recommend to save a little cash, that adds on about 0.5 miles and 100 feet of elevation gain. 


How do I hike to Galten?  What are the Galten (Mini Trolltunga) Hike Logistics? 

This hike first takes you through a pine forest before taking you above the treeline for about a mile until you reach Galten itself.  On your way to Galten, you’ll get views of both stunning Voldsfjord and Dalsfjord.  Once out of the pine forest, these views on this hike are truly postcard worthy.  And with it being a relatively short hike, we’d say it’s a great bang for buck hike.   

Galten Hike

Once you get to the Summit, there is a book contained in a waterproof container where you can sign saying you were there.  From there, you have to walk/climb down to Galten.  It is a bit of a scramble but Natalie was able to do it easily and without issue with our 12 month old on her back.  We had fun sitting as a family out at this spot.  


How long does the Galten (Mini Trolltunga) Hike take?

This hike will take about 3 hours to hike.   We hiked Galpen in about 3 hours including stopping at the summit for about 45 minutes.  


How much does it cost to park at Galten (Mini Trolltunga)? 

If you use the toll road, it costs 50 NOK (5 US dollars).  However, you can park before the toll road and forgo this charge easily and only add on less than 0.5 miles of hiking.  Here are the coordinates to Galten start and see the picture here. 

Galten Hike Parking

Is the Galten (Mini Trolltunga) hike busy?

No! We only saw two other people while hiking this trail.  One of the people was a local who hikes this trail several times a month to enjoy the tranquil environment this hike offers. The hike was so peaceful and felt untouched. It really seemed like we had the trail to ourselves.  It was one of our favorite hikes in Norway because of this.  This less popular spot is worth the trek to enjoy the stunning views alone.


Can you hike Galten (Mini Trolltunga) with kids? 

Yes!  We hiked this trail with our 12-month-old daughter in the backpack carrier.  This trail is not technically challenging so as long as you are in decent shape, you should be able to complete it baby wearing.  Most kids over 7, and younger depending on experience, should be able to complete this trail as well.   You may not want your child to go out onto the Galten rock at these younger ages though.  We felt comfortable holding our daughter on the rock but did not let her walk out on to it. 

Galten hike with kids

When to hike Galten (Mini Trolltunga)?  

Ideally, hike it June 1st-September 30th.  Outside of that window, it is more likely the road leading to the Galten trailhead will be covered in snow and the trail will be covered in snow as well.


How do you access the Galten (Mini Trolltunga) trailhead? 

You can either access it by driving on the toll road or hiking from parking just prior to the toll road.  Here are the coordinates to Galten start.  


Where to stay when hiking Galten (Mini Trolltunga)?  

We LOVED the Airbnb we stayed at in Folkestad.  We were actually able to walk to the Galten trailhead from here.  The views from this place were spectacular and the space was comfortable.  We really enjoyed talking with our host here who was very helpful suggesting many things to explore in the area.  We traveled all over Norway and this was our favorite Airbnb and town.  Stay here! 

Hiking Galten was one of the highlights of our 2 Week Norway Road Trip.   It was so peaceful, serene and scenic.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on planning an epic fjord road trip of your own.  


We hope this guide helps you plan your hike at Galten.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord?


Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord

Geiragngerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is said to be one of the most beautiful fjords in all of Norway.  This fjord is actually the inspiration for the beautiful Adendelle in Disney’s hit movie Frozen.  With Geirangerfjord being one of the most scenic fjords, we knew we wanted to go hiking here.  However, with only being in Geirangerfjord one full day, we knew we needed to find the best ‘one & done’ hike to do.  And we were so happy when we found the perfect, unique hike in Geirangerfjord from Skagehola to Geiranger.  Here is our guide on where to hike in Geirangerfjord. 

Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord

FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in early September.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter.  For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Take a boat to Skagefla and then hike back to Gerianger

We highly, HIGHLY recommend taking a boat to the Skagefla drop off and then hiking back to Geiranger from there.  This unique hike affords stunning views of Geirangerfjord.   Map as below.

Book Geirangerfjord Cruise 

In order to do this one-way hike in Geirangerfjord, you first book a Cruise on Geirangerfjord to Skagfela (550 NOK).  Be sure to book this cruise in advance as it does have limited time spots, especially after September 1st.  You take this cruise down through the fjord, past several stunning waterfalls.  Once the boat turns around, you will get off the boat on the return route at the Skagehola stop (boat drop-off/pick-up below Skagefla farm).  

Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord: Skaagehola to Geiranger Hike Specifics 

We measured this one-way hike at just over 5 miles one-way with 1800 feet of elevation gain.  

Hike to Skagefla Farm

As mentioned above, the hike to Skagefla starts with a fjord cruise through Geirangerfjord to Skagehola (shore below Skagefla where the trail starts).  Here you get off the book and start the steep hike to Skagefla 

People had told us this hike was steep before we completed it but we truly did not appreciate how steep this hike was until we completed it.  In about 0.5 miles, you gain over 800 feet (250 meters) of elevation making it a stellar workout as well.  

Skagefla is one of ten old, abandoned mountain farms in Geirangerfjord.  This farm is 250 meters above the fjord and offers a fantastic view of several waterfalls in Geirangerfjord.  

Geirangerfjord Hike

The trail then continues onto the highest point of elevation at 1800 feet (550 meters). This is another steep, challenging climb to this spot. You will reach another abandoned farm before starting your descent toward Holmberg.  This highest point of elevation offers fantastic views back over Geirangerfjord.

The hike back to Holmberg is then a gradual descent.  Just before the final descent, you are afforded the most spectacular views over Geiranger (first picture in this post).  Once you arrive in Holmberg, you walk the main road back to Geiranger.  It is less than a mile back to Geiranger from this point. 

Bonus: On this hike, an unexpected, fun find was many fresh blueberries and raspberries along the path.  It was so neat to be able to eat these fresh on the trail.  Our daughter loved eating and trying these too! 

Note: Trail is slippery even without recent rain

Even without recent rain, due to how water drains into the fjord, the trail is likely to be slippery in spots due to wet/muddy terrain.  Especially on your descent into Holmberg.   Even though it had not rained in over two weeks when we visited, there were still some very slick spots on the trail.  Solid hiking shoes (and being on your A-game with careful steps) are a must for this trail.  

Where to hike Geriangerfjord

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 8+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots

Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord: Can kids hike this trail?

Yes!  We hiked this trail with our 12-month-old daughter in the backpack carrier.  The ascent hike is very steep but the hike to Holmberg/Geiranger is more manageable. We felt comfortable with our daughter in the carrier. Beware that the trail skirts the edge of the fjord and is quite exposed at times.  This does pose a dangerous fall risk.  However, there are chains in these spots. If your child can handle the steep elevation and you can trust them to be aware of the exposed mountainside at different points, they should be able to complete this hike.  


Alternative Routes

Hike from Geiranger/Holmberg to Skagefla Out & Back

You could alternatively hike from Geiranger out & back.  This would make it a very long day/hike (10 miles round-trip).  We also consider the steep rocky trail that we ascended to the farm from Skagehola dangerously steep.  We would have not felt comfortable descending this trail back to the boat drop off/pick up with our baby on our backs. We find ascending up steep elevation to be more manageable than descending down steep elevation.  

However, this alternative is a budget option (for someone not baby-wearing) because you do not have to pay for the pricey cruise to Skagefla/Skaghola.  However, we thought the cost of the cruise was worth it allows you  to see the fjord from the water. 

Hike from Boat Drop-Off/Pick Up to Skagefla Out & Back

Another alternative to hiking the full path is that you can hike to Skagefla farm (from the boat drop off spot below it) and then hike back to the boat drop off/pick up (Skagehola) for a boat ride back to Geiranger.  Getting picked up at the boat drop off/pick is included in your cruise ticket cost.  This shortens the hike to about 1 mile round trip.  However, do not let that 1 mile stat fool you.  The hike to Skagefla is an exceedingly steep route with 820 feet (250 feet) of elevation gain and round-trip it will take you at least an hour to 1.5 hours to complete.  

We highly advise you against this option though as our favorite views on this hike were all past Skagefla farm/past the highest elevation.  Our favorite view over Geiranger was near the end of this hike near Holmberg (above). 

Note: If you do choose this option, make sure to check when the next boat will be coming to pick you up.  Boats, especially after Sept 1st, are very limited and the boats will not wait for you (as they do not know you are coming) if you are not there when they arrive.  Make sure you are back to Skagehola before the boat comes to get you. We witnessed one group of hikers narrowly miss the boat as the frantically moved on the trail to jump onboard

Fun Facts about Geirangerfjord: 

  • Inspiration for Arendelle in Frozen 
  • Population less than 300 year round residents
  • Less than 20 kids are enrolled in the school here.  Once kids turn 16, they are sent to Alesund (2 hours away) for school and live in an apartment on their own at this time 
  • The town inevitably is going to be destroyed by a Tsunami at some point but it is heavily monitored so that the residents should have 72 hours to evacuate 

Where to Stay in Geirangerfjord?

We stayed at Grande Hytteutleige og Camping in cabin option #3 while visiting Geiranger/Geirangerfjord.  These simple one bedroom cabins (with a lofted space and bunk beds) can sleep up to 5 and also have a full kitchen.  The real draw to this spot though is the back window/patio views over Geirangerfjord.  The views are truly stellar.  We would stay at this spot again without hesitation.  The staff working here were also very kind and accommodating to us.  There are other larger and smaller cabin options here as well to meet your group needs.  This accommodation was the perfect space for us to base ourselves for two-nights to hike in Geirangerfjord. 


Hiking from Skagefla to Geirnagerfjord was one of the highlights of our 2 Week Norway Road Trip   It was so peaceful, serene and scenic.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip Trip guide for all the details on planning an epic fjord road trip of your own.  

We hope this guide helps you plan where to hike in Geirangerfjord.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

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Hiking in Runde, Norway


Hiking in Runde Norway

Runde is an island off the west coast of Norway with just over 100 residents. It is famous for bird viewing on its dramatic seaside cliffs throughout the summer (June-early August).  Although we visited Runde outside of bird watching season, we found it to be very neat to see the cliffs even without the birds. The island itself is very quaint and cute with being so small. There was a small town charm to it when you talk to locals.   Hiking to/around the seaside cliffs was a highlight of our time in Norway.  Here is our guide on hiking in Runde, Norway.  

Hiking in Runde Norway

FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in early September.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter.  For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!

Hiking in Runde Norway Map

Hike the seaside cliffs in Runde

Runde is a relatively small island.  The map above, in Norwegian (given to us by a local), shows the whole island and hiking trails are marked with dashed lines.  We recommend starting on the Goksoyr side, where you can access the trail from the road, and then making a loop around the cliffs in a clockwise fashion as highlighted on the map.  This hike is in total about 4 miles and just under 1000 feet of elevation gain.   You can add on some mileage and elevation by hiking down to the lighthouse as well.  However, the best cliff views are from the higher elevations of the hike on the east and west side of the island.  

Trailhead on Runde located between two houses 

To access the hike, park at the public lot right off the main road, just slightly south of the start of the trailhead. There were public toilets at the parking lot as well to access. From here, walk up the road to the trailhead where you will start your steep climb.  The trailhead can be a bit tricky to find, as it is located between two houses but if you are looking for it, you shouldn’t miss it.  

First part of the hike on Runde is the steepest

The first part of this hike, if you complete this hike in a counterclockwise fashion as we suggest, is the steepest.  Once you get to the highest point on the north tip of the island, your hike will be mostly downhill (unless you hike down to the lighthouse too, then you have to climb back up to the main trail).

Hike through farmland, then along cliffs 

You will first hike through some farmland, previously used for peat moss harvesting, before reaching the dramatic sea cliffs.  The best views of the cliffs, in our opinion, are on the east side of the trail heading up it to the west.  Here, you can see down to the lighthouse where the cliffs slowly taper off in height.  

Hiking in Runde Norway

We hiked all the way up to the highest point along the cliffs on the northside.  Stopping here is a nice spot to have a picnic and gaze off into the Atlantic ocean.  Then we started our descent down on the west side of the island where we did actually see many krykkjer birds nesting along the cliffs (despite being outside of bird viewing season).  However, we did not see any puffins. 

Tip: If you want the best chance to see nesting birds, especially Puffins, be sure to visit in June-early August.  

Beware though that with the bird viewing season comes crowds.  Although we did not see many birds on our hike, we also did not see many people.  We enjoyed a very peaceful hike, where we only encountered 6 other people the whole time, while visiting during the off-season.  

Downhill second half of the hike

From the highest point on this hike, you can cut back across the farmland to make the loop or you can hike down the west side of the island more.  Note though that once you start heading down the west side of the trail, after the crossover path to make the loop, the trail becomes more rocky with more scrambling.  Be careful!  We did not venture too far on this trail due to the more difficult terrain. Instead we headed back across the farmland on the main trail. 

Hiking in Runde Norway

As noted above, this hike is 4 miles in total.  We found the first climb to be of moderate difficulty but the second half of the hike was a downhill/flat breeze.   The first part of this hike is the steepest, if you complete cthis hike in a counterclockwise fashion.  Once you get to the highest point on the north tip of the island, your hike will be mostly downhill (unless you hike down to the lighthouse, then you have to climb back up) 

Where to stay when hiking in Runde?

We stayed about an hour away from Runde, in Folkestad. We LOVED this Folkestad Airbnb.  The views of the farm and fjord from this Airbnb truly are unmatched.  This cozy place was the perfect spot to take a day trip to Runde as well as hike Galten ***. 10 out of 10 recommend this spot and town.  

Where to stay near Runde

You may also consider staying on the small quaint island.  Our friend, who lives in Norway and has visited Runde, recommends staying at the Christianborg hotel (nice restaurant on site) or camping near the lighthouse (must hike to) if you are staying on the island. 

Tip: Check the ferry schedule from Folkestad to Volda to avoid wait time 

If you are staying in Folkestad, check the times of the ferry to Volda.  We took the ferry on a Saturday and it was only running every 40 minutes unlike on weekdays where it runs more frequently.  We arrived 1 minute after the ferry left so we had to wait 39 minutes for the next one…  Had we known the ferry schedule, we likely would have stayed at our Airbnb longer or gotten out the door faster.  Capitalizing on some down time, our daughter enjoyed walking around the dock here and we wouldn’t have gotten to do that had we not had to wait.


Hiking in Runde was one of the highlights of our 2 Week Norway Road Trip.   See this guide for all the details on planning an epic fjord road trip of your own.  

We hope this guide helps you plan your visit to Runde and hiking along the seaside cliffs.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

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How to Hike Trolltunga


How to Hike Trolltunga

Hiking Trolltunga was truly a dream come true.  When we saw a picture of the summit of this hike many years ago, we knew we had to complete it.  Trolltunga is one of the most challenging yet memorable hikes you will ever complete.  The summit of this hike, Trolltunga rock (a rock that juts out from a mountain over stunning Lake Ringedalsvatnet) makes it unlike any other hike we have ever done before.   Stepping out onto the Trolltunga rock with our daughter is something we will never forget.  Here is our guide on hiking Trolltunga in Norway. 

FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in late August.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter.  For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

How to Hike Trolltunga

Note: Trolltunga is one of our top 5 favorite hikes we have ever completed.  That is saying a lot too as we have hiked more miles than we can count all over the world including many US National Parks and Europe.  Definitely add Trolltunga to your bucket list. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Hiking Trolltunga FAQs


How long of a hike is Trolltunga?  What is the elevation gain?  

From the P2 parking lot, Trolltunga is 16.7 miles (27 km) with 4000 feet (1200 m) of elevation gain.  It is an out & back hike.


Is there a way to shorten the Trolltunga hike? Details about Parking at P3 at Trolltunga? 

Yes!  And we highly recommend parking at P3 instead of P2 to shorten your trek to Trolltunga.   By parking at P3 instead of P2, you shave off 4.3 miles (7 km) of hiking and 1,300 feet of elevation gain.  From P3, the hike is 12.4 miles (20 km) with 2600 feet (800 m) of elevation gain.  Parking at P3 saves you approximately 3 hours of hiking round trip and is completely worth the extra cost (600 NOK, about $60 US dollars).  

If P3 parking is full, you can also book a shuttle from P2 to P3.  Overall, the shuttle costs about the same as parking at P3 (if you only have 2 people).  However, you have to start/get a ride back on the shuttle schedule.  Parking at P3 is better so you are on your own schedule.  

The ‘trail’ going from P2 to P3 is a simple, narrow, heavy switchback road without any unique views.  The road from P2 to P3 is not peaceful either as cars and shuttles are driving on it throughout the day.  It also makes an already strenuous hike more strenuous without adding any views or nature serenity. Park at P3 (or take the shuttle from P2 to P3)!  

Note: There are only 30 car spots at P3 so be sure to book online using the link here as soon as possible in advance to guarantee your spot.  


How do I hike Trolltunga? What are the logistics of the Trolltunga Hike? 

Hike Trolltunga

If you start at P2, which we again do not recommend, you will have a steady climb for over 2 miles on the road before reaching P3.  This is the steepest part of the climb and least scenic part of the hike. 

From P3, there is approximately 1 mile of slight incline up, followed by another approximately 1.5 miles of more steep incline.  After that, the hike involves 2 more climbs but both are less steep and spread out with some down/somewhat flat hiking in between.  The hardest part of the hike is the beginning so if you get through the first climb, feel confident you can do the whole hike. 

How to Hike Trolltunga

Once you reach Trolltunga, to get down onto the rock, you have to climb down a ladder (built into the rocks) and then you can easily walk onto Trolltunga itself.  We did not find walking out onto this rock scary, unlike stepping onto Kjeragbolten.  It is very large and wide.  When you are on it, you cannot tell how far of a drop it is unless you get close to the edge. 

Tip: Throughout the hike, be sure to follow the red T’s on the ground and/or the poles in the rocks to keep on the path at Trolltunga. Numerous people have required rescuing from this trail.  


Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 8+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


Is the Trolltunga hike hard?

Yes, Trolltunga is a hard hike, but not as hard as we expected.  We had read a lot of reviews online of this hike (prior to hiking) saying Trolltunga was the hardest hike most had ever completed.  We disagree (maybe because we started the hike at P3 and didn’t hike as far as if you started at P2).  Now, this hike is no cake walk but the elevation is spread out and feels manageable.  Hiking Trolltunga requires good physical fitness, due to the length and elevation gained, but no technical climbing skills.  

Despite Trolltunga being a much longer hike than Kjeragbolten, we found this hike to be easier, mainly because there were no spots where you needed chains to get up due to the steepness.  


How far of a drop is it from the Trolltunga rock into Lake Ringedalsvatnet?

How to Hike Trolltunga

Sources vary on this factoid, but it is estimated to be about 2200 feet (670 meters).  It is unlikely, unless you get too close to the edge or intentionally jump, that you would fall off this rock.  Again, we did not find it scary.  If you can climb down the ladder, we think anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can walk onto this rock.  We held our 1 year old daughter’s hands as she walked on the rock.  It was such a cool moment! 


How is it stepping onto the Trolltunga rock (aka the Troll’s Tongue)? 

Surreal!  Like we said earlier, we have been dreaming of hiking to this spot for years and it was so cool to finally do it.  This spot is straight out of a postcard!  


How long does it take to hike Trolltunga? 

It took us 8 hours to hike Trolltunga from P3.  This includes stopping at Trolltunga rock for about 1 hour to take pictures and a break.  If you hike from P2, it will likely take about 3 more hours. 


Is the Trolltunga hike busy?

When we hiked it, no.  However, we hiked it just after the end of peak season (August 30th) and on a Tuesday.  Unlike Pulpit Rock, this hike is not overly busy because it is so long and most beginners steer clear of it.  And only 30 cars can park at P3.  There are definitely other people on the trail but everyone has their own space and there were no traffic jams.  We saw about the same amount of people at Kjeragbolten as we did on this trail. 


When is the best time to hike Trolltunga?  

Hike this trail in the summer/early fall, ideally June 1st-September 30th.  Outside of that window, it is not recommended to hike to Trolltunga unless you have a guide as the weather in the area is less predictable.  Be sure to check trail conditions too.  When we visited, late August, there was no snow on the trail.  However, we had unseasonably warm and clear weather  for our hike (and really for our entire Norway trip).  Many years, in early June, a lot of the trail tends to be covered in snow still.  


Can you Hike Trolltunga with kids?  

Yes! We completed this hike with our 12-month-old daughter and it is one of our favorite hikes we have completed with her.  That being said, this is a very long hike.  Some kids may not tolerate being in the carrier or hiking this long. If your child is not being carried, we would say kids should be 10+ and have a decent amount of hiking experience.  We saw NO other babies or kids on this hike.  All the hikers we saw were adults. 

Hike Trolltunga with kids

For all our tips on hiking with a baby, see our How to Hike with a Baby post. 


Where to Stay When Hiking Trolltunga? 

Odda is the closest option to stay while hiking Trolltunga. If you are looking for convenience, stay in this area.  However, if you are willing to drive a little further, you can get a place a bit off the beaten path that will give you a more peaceful, and likely beautiful, experience, for a fraction of the cost.  We stayed at a farm a bit north of Odda in Lofthus.  The fjord views here were spectacular, especially from the dock.  I mean just look at the dock views pictured here.  We spent 3 nights at this Lofthus Airbnb and wish we could have spent even more time here. 

Where to stay when hiking Trolltunga

Hiking Trolltunga was one of the top highlights of our 2 Week Norway Road Trip.   See this guide for all the details on planning an epic Norwegian fjord road trip of your own.  

We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to hike Trolltunga.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

How to Hike Pulpit Rock


Pulpit Rock Hike

Pulpit Rock, also called Preikestolen, is an impressive rock that towers 2000 feet (600 meters) above Lysefjord.  This larger-than-life rock was featured in the movie Mission Impossible Rogue Nation.  Pulpit rock is one of the most hiked trails in Norway given its proximity to Stavanger and relatively short length.  Here is our guide on how to hike on to hike Pulpit Rock. 

  

Pulpit Rock Hike

FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in late August.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter.  For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Pulpit Rock Hike FAQs


How long is the Pulpit Rock Hike?  How much elevation gain is on the Pulpit Rock Hike? 

Pulpit Rock is a 4.6 mile (7.6 km) out & back hike with 1150 feet (350m) of elevation gain. 

How do I hike Pulpit Rock?  What are the Pulpit Rock Logistics? 

This hike first takes you through a pine forest before taking you above the treeline for about a mile until you reach Pulpit Rock itself.   The trail alternates between less and more steep sections.  The hike overall felt like a steady climb up with some more steep areas at certain points.  A lot of this hike is on a path of rocks and on variable sized rock stairs.  You definitely have to pay attention to your footing throughout the hike. 

There is a very short section of the hike along the cliffside. If you have a fear of heights, you may find this difficult.  However, there were chains on the edge along the cliff and we did not feel fearful of the height at any time. 

Pulpit Rock Hike

Once at Pulpit rock, you can wait in a line to get views from the end of the rock.  However, you can see the impressive nature of the rock and how far down it is into the fjord better from the side view. You also can get some really pretty expansive fjord views from the side as well. 

How long does the Pulpit Rock Hike take to hike?

This hike will take about 5 hours to complete (on average).  We hiked Pulpit rock in about 4.5 hours including stopping at the summit on Pulpit Rock for about an hour. 

How much does it cost to park at Pulpit Rock? 

250 NOK (about $25 US dollars) in 2022

Is Pulpit Rock hike busy?

Yes! The Pulpit Rock Hike is VERY busy. Pulpit Rock is one of the most hiked trails in all of Norway due to the impressive views that you are afforded on a relatively short hike.  

Pulpit Rock Hike

Tip: Hike this trail as early or as late in the evening as possible. 

This trail was so busy that it did take away from the experience a bit. We started this hike around 10:30 am on a Saturday and in hindsight, would have started this hike earlier or later.  We had ‘traffic jams’ on the trail at times and it was hard to have your own space on the trail for very long.  This experience was a stark contrast to hiking Kjeragbolten and Trolltunga

We have seen some pictures of people on Pulpit rock with no other people in the pictures, but do not expect this for your journey.  Expecting to get pictures without others (without photoshopping extensively) is unrealistic.   FYI- we do not photoshop people out of any of our pictures as that gives an unrealistic depiction of any experience/hike.

Can you hike Pulpit Rock with kids? 

Absolutely!  We hiked this trail with our 12-month-old daughter in the backpack carrier.  This trail is not technically challenging so as long as you are in decent shape, you should be able to complete it baby wearing.  Most kids over 7 years old, and younger depending on experience, should be able to complete this trail.   

Pulpit Rock Hike

We saw SO many kids and babies on this trail, more than we have ever seen hiking before.  When we got to Pulpit Rock, we realized we had forgotten wipes for changing our daughter’s diaper.   Another mom overheard us and kindly gave us some of hers to use.  Our babies then had fun taking rocks back and forth from one another.  Rocks really can provide hours of entertainment. See our How to Hike with a Baby post for all our baby hiking tips.

When to hike Pulpit Rock?  

Ideally, hike it June 1st-September 30th.  Outside of that window, it is likely the road to the Pulpit Rock trailhead and trail will be covered in snow and potentially closed.

Fun Fact: Despite being over 2 hours apart driving, Pulpit Rock is located on the same fjord as Kjeragbolten

How do you access Pulpit Rock from Stavanger?  

Ryfylke Tunnel, a 14 km long tunnel, connects Stavanger to Tau on your way to Stavanger.  This is one of the world’s longest and deepest subsea tunnels. You will drive through this tunnel if you travel from Stavanger to Pulpit Rock. The cost to go through this tunnel is 140 NOK each way (our rental car company charged us automatically for this when driving through so we didn’t pay anywhere in person).  It is about a 45 minute drive from Stavanger to Pulpit Rock.  

Where to stay when hiking Pulpit Rock?  

We recommend staying in Stavanger and exploring this Norwegian city the day before or after your hike.  This town is so quaint and picturesque with its many wooden houses.  This is the Stavanger Airbnb we stayed at and would highly recommend.  There was a path from our accommodations we were able to take through the neighborhoods to the city center of Stavanger.  It was so nice to be able to just walk into town once we arrived.  This path also allowed us a peek into local living.  We really enjoyed walking through the neighborhoods and the walkable nature of the area itself. 


Hiking Pulpit Rock was one of the highlights of our 2 Week Norway Road Trip.   See this guide for all the details on planning an epic fjord road trip of your own.  

We hope this guide helps you plan your hike at Pulpit Rock.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary


One Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

Spending a week in Puerto Rico will leave you wanting more time there.  From rainforest hikes to hidden beaches to historic Old San Juan to a hopping food scene, Puerto Rico has a little bit of it all. Our 1 week itinerary for visiting Puerto Rico will guide you on how to not only experience it all but also have plenty of time to relax.  Here is our 1 week in Puerto Rico Itinerary.  

Note: This itinerary covers visiting mainly the East side of the island and Old San Juan.  If you want to visit both sides of the island, you really need more than a week.  We hope to go back one day to explore the West side of the island. 

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

FYI: This post is based on a trip taken in early March.  We took this trip with our 7 month old daughter.  For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, Flying with a Baby  and How to Hike with a Baby posts.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary Day 1: Arrive in Puerto Rico

On day 1, fly into Puerto Rico. There are several airports on the island but you are going to find the best deals in/out of San Juan as it is the biggest airport. For tips on saving on flights see 5 Ways to Save on Flights.  For emails to be sent to your inbox on cheap flights departing from your home airport, sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights.  Use this link for a FREE 2 week trial of Premium Scott’s Cheap Flights

After arriving in San Juan, we recommend pick up groceries before heading to your accommodations. You are going to have the most options of places to shop and the best prices on groceries in/around San Juan.  We recommend stopping at the Costco (not sponsored but should be) not far from the airport.  We stayed at an Airbnb with a full kitchen and found Costco to be a great spot to stock up on some essentials for the week. 

Stay East of Old San Juan

Next, drive to your accommodations and settle in. You can either go out for dinner or cook depending on your preference/timing of flights. 

We recommend staying at the Airbnb we stayed at in Ceiba (East of the Island) just south of Fjarado, The East Point P.R. Airbnb.  We loved this Airbnb for many reasons.  For one, the patios at this Airbnb are amazing. The front patio has hammocks under a gorgeous tree and the back patio has stunning mountain views.  The hosts at this Airbnb were so kind and helpful as well. Our daughter also loved the swimming pool which is shared, but we always had it completely to ourselves. When we visited, there was a reservation system in place to only have one family at the pool at a time. This Airbnb is not a resort and allows for a more local experience as the other people at the complex reside there. 

Luquillo and Fjarado are also good areas to stay in while visiting the East side of the island. They are far enough away from the city yet close enough for a day trip to Old San Juan and with convenient access to El Yunque and some of the best beaches/beach hiking.  You may also consider staying in Old San Juan if looking for a nightlife scene and if you plan to spend more than one day in Old San Juan. 


1-Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary Day 2: El Yunque National Rainforest

1-Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

El Yunque National Rainforest

The next morning, wake up early and head to the El Yunque National Rainforest, which is the only tropical rainforest in the US National Parks system.  It is one of the smallest National forests yet one of the most biodiverse.  We loved visiting El Yunque (several times) and our favorite parts of the trip happened here!

IMPORTANT: You Need Reservations to Enter El Yunque National Rainforest.  

Currently in 2022, you cannot enter El Yunque National Rainforest without a reservation.  You can book these reservations 30 days in advance at recreation.gov. We recommend you set an alarm to get these tickets as soon as they become available.  These tickets are not as competitive to get as some tickets for entering other National Parks like Zion National Park, Arches National Park or Rocky Mountain National Park but we still recommend getting them as soon as possible otherwise you may be SOL.  We encountered numerous people who did not have tickets and could not get in (and had no idea prior to visiting they needed these tickets).  You also cannot give or sell your ticket to someone else, even if you are not going, because the park rangers were checking IDs to make sure ticket names matched your ID.  

Tip: If possible, get morning entrance tickets because there will be less people in the park.  In the morning, you will only encounter other people with morning entrance tickets whereas in the afternoon, twice the number of people can be in the park at that time.  The mornings are a bit cooler and better for hiking as well. 

Stop at La Coca Falls

1-Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

This location is a brief stop to see a waterfall off the main road (Hwy. 191) as you enter the park from the east. Our daughter loved looking at this waterfall. She was memorized by the waterflow! 

Stop at Yokahu Tower

Yokahu Tower

You can climb up the Yokahu Tower to look out over the park from even higher up or you can simply look out from the spot right next to the parking lot.  Regardless of what you decide to do, it is certainly a pretty spot. A short stop again and right off the main road. 

Hike La Coca Trail (3.2 Miles, 947 feet of elevation gain, out & back)

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

This hike is very serene, peaceful and pretty. We hiked this trail on a Saturday at 9am and were the only people on the trail.  For more information on this hike, see our El Yunque National Rainforest Guide.  

Vereda La Coca Trail AllTrails 

Mount Britton Tower Trail (1.6 Miles, 649 feet of elevation gain, out & back) 

This trail takes you up to Mount Britton Tower that affords you panoramic views across the park. To access it, drive further up road 191 from the Vereda La Coca Trailhead (same road you use to access La Coca Falls)  

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

The Mount Britton hike is along a well maintained trail, mostly paved with rocks.  We advise wearing hiking boots for this trail though as it was a bit slick. The slickness was nothing our hiking boots could not handle but we saw people in regular shoes struggling. 

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 8+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

Tip: Hike Mount Britton on a Clear Day and in the Morning 

Try to go on a more clear day for better views from the top as cloud cover can completely obscure your views.  The cloud cover can change in a matter of minutes and go from clear skies for miles to complete cloud cover (it did this when we were there). Also, try hiking the trail earlier in the day for the best views/weather as it typically rains in the afternoon in the rainforest (per park ranger). There are also less people on this trail in the morning.  We saw at least a dozen other people while hiking this trail on a Saturday late morning/early afternoon. 

Mount Britton Trail AllTrails

For more information on this hike, see our El Yunque National Rainforest Guide for more details, including a detailed map 

Pork Highway

After a morning hiking in the National forest, you will be ready for some delicious food so head to the Pork Highway. This drive consists of lechonera after lechonera on highway 184 that leads you up into the mountains.  Lechoneras are restaurants/food joints specializing in roast pork. These lechoneras each serve pork that is slow roasted over hot coals making it crispy on the outside, yet tender on the inside. Yum!

Pork Highway Puerto Rico

Our favorite places we stopped along the Pork Highway included: 

  • Lechonera Los Amigos: This cafetería style lechonera had the most flavorful pork we tried on the Pork highway.  We also had some very good tostones (crisp flattened plantains) here.  The staff was very kind and accommodating to our daughter (7 months old at the time) as well. 
  • La Placita Guavate: This restaurant was further up highway 184 past the main lechoneras.  This location was certainly a local spot. Our waitress only spoke Spanish. The views from the dining area here were stunning over the mountains. Here, we enjoyed some really delicious sides, including Mofongo and Amarillitos. The house dessert (Churro Balls filled with nutella covered with vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce and whip cream) did not disappoint either. Our daughter got to try all the foods here, and we gave her a lime for the first time.  What a funny reaction to see! 

Tip: Locate the beginning of the Pork Highway by searching for Lechonera Los Amigos. 

This Lechonera is at the start of the Pork Highway. From here, drive southeast on highway 184 towards Guvate (will be labeled with yellow signs as pictured).  The Pork Highway is a build your own experience so drive on highway 184 as far as you would like and stop at as many or as few lechoneras as you please. 

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

Tip: Visit between traditional mealtimes 

We drove the Pork Highway late on a Saturday afternoon (started around 4 o’clock).  At that time, it was not crowded.  Most information we read on the Pork Highway advised arriving by noon.  Otherwise, it would be very crowded and difficult to drive but we found driving it late afternoon to be very easy-going. 

Foods to Try while in Puerto Rico:

  • Amarillitos (Sweet fried plantains) 
  • Tostones (Crisp flattened plantains, savory) 
  • Mofongo (Mashed up plantains and yuca, National Dish, Natalie’s favorite, has a garlic bread like taste) 
  • Arroz con Gandules or Vegetables (Rice with pigeon peas or other vegetables, has a sweeter taste)
  • Cuajito (stewed pig stomach)
  • Morcilla (blood sausage)
  • Longaniza (spicy sausage)
  • Yuca al mojo (cassava with onions, olive oil and vinegar)

1-Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary Day 3: Visit Old San Juan

Visit Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Next up, Old San Juan! Old San Juan reminded us of a charming European city with its cobblestone roads and colorful buildings. The Spanish influence, from Puerto Rico’s time as a Spanish colony, is very evident. The vibrantly colored buildings paired with the lively music, food and people we encountered made for a very fun day exploring Old San Juan. Old San Juan is also dripping with history, with the Castle and Fortress (on the shoreline) are a delight for any history buff.  See our 1 Day in Old San Juan Puerto Rico guide for all our recommendations on visiting this city.

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

We recommend walking around the entirety (a couple miles of walking) of Old San Juan to experience the culture and see all it has to offer.  Simply park at one spot (see below where to park for FREE) and make a big loop.  Be sure to also pop down random streets and not always walk on the main roads.  We found some of the cutest spots when we were off the beaten path.  If you love photography like Natalie, you will love finding these quaint and colorful spots.  We also found some fun murals tucked away on less trafficked streets. 

Explore El Moro Fortress & Castillo San Cristobal

Beyond the cobblestone streets and colorful buildings, be sure to visit El Morro Fortress and Castillo San Cristobal on the coastline.  El Moro was constructed in the 1400s to protect San Juan from pirates. The architecture here is quite magnificent and provides for some awesome photo ops. Castillo San Cristobal is located just south of the fortress on the shoreline and has similarly cool old architecture.   See our 1 Day in Old San Juan Puerto Rico guide for how to save on admission to these spots.

 El Moro Fortress Old San Juan

La Fortaleza/Calle Fortaleza

Another spot you may want to make sure you visit is La Fortaleza/Calle Fortaleza, the Governor’s Mansion and the street in front of it. Typically Calle Fortaleza is very picturesque and has umbrellas hanging above it but when we visited, this was not the case.  A local told us the objects hanging above the street rotate throughout the year so do not expect to necessarily see this decor. 

Tip: Park near El Morro for FREE. 

Across the street a couple blocks east, we were able to park on a Sunday morning for free. Here is the location we parked at for free. Be sure to read all signs, as this could have changed.  Signs are in Spanish so either ask a local or use Google translate if you do not speak Spanish to be sure it is free to park (and you won’t get a ticket). 

Tip: Arrive early as it gets busier throughout the day.  

We were able to drive into Old San Juan quickly without any traffic but when we were leaving in the afternoon, the traffic to get into Old San Juan was bumper to bumper.  The National Park Sites were also quite crowded at that time.  We like people, not crowds!  

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

Parent advice: You can navigate Old San Juan with a stroller but ideally would baby wear

It is a bit tricky but doable to use your stroller in Old San Juan Puerto Rico. In Old San Juan, the roads are mainly cobblestone but you can roll your stroller on the sidewalks.  The sidewalks are not always continuous and sometimes we had to lift our stroller up or carry it briefly.  However, it worked and was worth the extra effort for us.  We prefer to have our stroller, when we can, as it serves as a portable napping spot for our baby. Having our stroller allows the baby to sleep quite well almost anywhere. A well rested baby is a happy baby!  For all our baby travel tips see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby and Flying with a Baby posts. 

Check Out Barrichina, Home to the Original Pina Colada

Be sure to get some traditional Puerto Rican food or check out one of the many other types of restaurants in Old San Juan.  We recommend eating at Barrachina (specializes in traditional Caribbean food), has a beautiful enclosed outdoor dining area and is, allegedly, home to the “Original” Pina Colada. 

See our 1 Day in Old San Juan guide for more tips on visiting Old San Juan.


1-Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary Day 4: El Yunque Rainforest

After a day in the city, we were ready to get back out in nature again and hike in El Yunque National Rainforest. We entered again through the east entrance. If you want to revisit a stop, you can stop at any of the pull offs along the road again.  There are several other small waterfalls and rest areas you can stop at along the road (see map in our complete El Yunque National Rainforest Guide) but we hit most on the first day we visited. 

El Yunque Trail to Los Picachos vía El Camilito Trailhead (about 5 Miles Roundtrip, 1,748 feet of elevation gain, out & back) 

This hike takes you through the serene rainforest and into the clouds.  It ends at a cement landing that you climb up to get panoramic views of the park.  It is a steep climb to the top but 100% worth it. This was our favorite hike and overall activity we did in Puerto Rico.  It was so peaceful and our 7 month old daughter at the time adorably babbled the entire hike. 

Tip: Try to go on a more clear day or in the morning (less likely rain) to have more clear views without cloud coverage (sometimes cannot see any views with full cloud coverage)

Along the trail, there are several small waterfalls and plenty of very pretty rainforest flora to keep this hike interesting.  Also, despite having quite decent elevation gain, the elevation gain was well spread out and the hike did not feel overly strenuous.  See our El Yunque National Rainforest Guide for more details on this hike.

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

Stop at La Murella for Lunch 

This roadside stand is located just prior to La Coca Falls.  The food here is delicious and freshly prepared.  It is quite overpriced but you are paying for the convenience of a hot Puerto Rican Food in the middle of a rainforest.  This is the best food we have ever had at a National Park site. Typically the food at the National Parks does not match up to the views but this time it did!  Be sure to bring cash to pay for it. 

Hike the Angelito Trail (0.7 miles, 127 feet of elevation gain, out & back) 

The Angelito trail takes you through the rainforest to a river where you can go swimming.  The highlight, for Natalie, at this spot was the rope swing that she had fun mastering swinging on into the river.  On the trail, you’ll pass through some bamboo too.  

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

Tip: Go right after it rains or on a weekday to beat the crowds. 

We had this normally very busy spot almost completely to ourselves after a short downpour because everyone else cleared out.  Also, try to go here on a weekday as it gets packed on weekends. 

See our El Yunque National Rainforest Guide for more details on this hike.


1-Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary Day 5: Beach Hiking & Food Kiosks 

Seven Seas to Playa Colorá and Playa Escondida Hike (2.2 mile out & back, 147 feet elevation)

This easy, mainly shaded, hike takes you through Mangroves to two secluded beaches.  We hiked this trail around 7:30 AM and had both beaches completely to ourselves.  On this hike, we saw lots of large fist sized crabs going into their holes as we approached the mangroves (don’t worry, they were off the path).  When we walked slowly and looked out closely, we could see 30 + out at a time! 

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

Tip: Park for free along the road just south of where the trail starts (north of Costa Mia restaurant). You can park at Seven Seas for a fee as well but if you arrive before 8 AM, you should have no trouble parking here for free. 

Eat at the Luquillo Food Kiosks

There are about 50 food kiosks at the Luquillo Food Kiosks.  Several are sit down restaurants with outdoor seating overlooking the beach.  Other spots are more grab and go, specializing in different Fried Puerto Rican Street Food and drinks (mojitos and pina coladas mainly).  The Kiosks are definitely a fun atmosphere!  

Eat at La Parilla 

We ate at the seafood seat-down restaurant La Parilla (Kiosk #2).  We liked the food and atmosphere here so much, we actually ate here twice. Our main dishes were on-point (grouper with a lemon butter cream sauce and chicken yuca mofongo) and we loved the tostones filled with crab appetizer.  You can also get the tostones filled with lobster but we liked the ones filled with crab-filled better so we would recommend a full order of those.  


1-Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary Day 6: Luquillo Beach Hike & Beach or Pool Afternoon

Luquillo Beach Hike (Up to 6 miles round trip, out & back, little to no elevation) 

This hike starts at Monserrate Beach (near and behind Luquillo Food Kiosks) and heads south along the shoreline. You can hike up to 6 miles round trip if you hike as far as you can along the shoreline.  We hiked 4 miles along (north to south) Monserrate Beach, Luquillo Beach, Fortuna Beach and Playa Azul.  On this hike, you access very pretty and secluded beaches south of Luquillo Beach.  These beaches also have calmer waters that our 7 month old greatly appreciated being able to stand in more easily.  These beaches are more “classic” in that they are lined with coconut trees and there are no mangroves unlike the previous day’s hike to Playa Escondida.  Be sure to have sun protection with you as most of this trail is in the direct sun if done anytime after early morning. 

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

Tip: Park for free at the Luquillo Food Kiosks and walk to the shoreline to get to the trail.  Otherwise, you have to pay for parking at Luquillo Beach (small fee but same distance of walking to the coastline so we suggest the free option). 

Eat at the Luquillo Food Kiosks again

Since you are already parked at the food Kiosks, time your hike to finish around when you want to eat lunch and eat here again.  Try somewhere new or eat at La Parilla again if you liked it as much as we did.


1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary Day 7: Hike La Zanja Trail, Fly Home

La Zanja Trail (3. Miles round Trip, out & back, 351 feet elevation)

The La Zanja Hike is along the beach and mangroves outside of Reserva Natural de Las Cabezas.  This hike was very pretty, serene and felt secluded. We saw no one else on this trail during our morning hike around 7:30 AM.  And if you hike before 9 AM, most of the hike will be in the shade.  Depending on the tide, you may have to wade some water/slippery rocks at high tide. We completed the hike during a low tide time so we had no issues and simply walked on the beach the whole time. 

1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary

Tip: Park for free along the road just north of where the trail starts (before Costa Mia restaurant).  This is the same spot you park for the Seven Seas to Playa Colorá and Playa Escondida Hike but instead of heading north to Seven Seas Beach, you head south towards the nature reserve.

Fly Home 

We did not want to leave Puerto Rico and hope you feel the same after traveling with this itinerary. 


Other Puerto Rico Travel Tips/Observations

Foods to try in Puerto Rico:

  • Mallorca: Sweet Puerto Rican Bread
  • Mofongo: Mashed up Plantains and Yuca, Natalie’s favorite
  • Arroz con Gandules: Rice with Pigeon Peas
  • Empanadillo: Puerto Rican Empanada 
  • Tostones: Fried flattened plantains, our favorite were filled with crab at La Parilla 
  • Flan: Egg custard dessert, Sam really liked it, Natalie did not care for this

Bad Drivers and Roads

Drivers in Puerto Rico, in general, are VERY aggressive (worse than, sorry IL friends, Chicago drivers) so be cautious. There are also speed bumps everywhere, probably to slow down those aggressive drivers. Similarly, the roads are also in poor condition at baseline so if a road has signs it is in poor condition, expect it to be really rough (especially Road 186 in El Yunque). We found this very ironic because you pay extra taxes with your rental car for the poorly maintained roads.

Many Stray Dogs and Cats  

We encountered several aggressive stray dogs in numerous areas of Puerto Rico.  This caught us off guard as we have not previously encountered aggressive strays despite all of our travels.  We love dogs but an aggressive stray dog biting you would completely alter your trip.  Prophylactic Rabies vaccinations are now something we are considering to potentially get for further travels.

 


Other Potential Puerto Rico Activities

Below is a list of some things we hope to do in the future but did not have time for or were unable to do with baby.

Bioluminescent Bay at night  (best to see during new moon phase, check prior to trip) 

The glowing bioluminescent bays are a phenomenon you can only see in a few parts of the world, including Puerto Rico.  They are best viewed during the new moon phase so try to time a visit to one of them around that. There are 3 places you can view these in Puerto Rico–near Fajardo at Mostiquo Bay, on Vieques Island or in La Parguera (southwest corner of the main island).  Kayak tours (not an option with a baby) are plentiful and there are many different companies you can use.  Some different options for viewing these bays we came across during our research included: 

  • Boardwalk Tour with Reserva Natural Las Cabezas de San Juan (Para la Naturaleza, was not occurring when we visited)
  • Big Island Boat Tours (Electric Boat to the Islands, BioIslandPR, 1 (787) 422-7857, Minimum age 3 so that was a no go with a 7 month old)

Eat at La Estacion 

This is a laid back gas station turned restaurant in Fajardo with locally sourced meat and produce with Puerto Rican Street Food.  Be sure to check when it is open and plan accordingly. This restaurant was closed all the times we thought about going. 

Visit an Island 

Other than the Puerto Rico main island, Culebra and Vieques are the most popular islands. You can take a ferry from Ceiba (East Side of the Island) to access them.  If you go to Vieques, it is quite large and our friends who have been there advise renting a Jeep to get around the island. 

Puerto Rico Ferry

Toro Verde Adventure Park

Ziplining near El Yunque

Cerro Mime Hike (3.4 Miles out & back, 354 feet of elevation gain)

Central Region Island hike with mountainous Views.  We did not hike because it is very far from most other activities/sites we visited. 

Hike El Toro Trail (4.9 Miles, 1325 feet of elevation gain, out & back)

This hike is located in El Yunque National Forest.  Based on reviews we read, it is very muddy. Some people said they would not do it again and it took most people 5 hours to hike.  We did not hike this trail because at the trailhead, located near the edge of the park, there was a pack of large aggressive stray dogs. Based on the reviews we read, we did not think the hike was worth doing to potentially get bit and maybe even contract rabies.  El Toro Trail AllTrails


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Puerto Rico.  Anything you’d add to our guide?  We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide


El Yunque National Rainforest is the only tropical rainforest in the US National Parks system.  It is one of the smallest national forests yet one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.  El Yunque has stunning rainforest hiking and plenty of scenic waterfalls to explore.  This National Rainforest is only about 45 minutes outside of historic Old San Juan making it an easy day trip for anyone staying there.  We recommend spending 1-2 days exploring the El Yunque National Rainforest.  Here is our complete El Yunque National Rainforest Guide.  

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide

FYI: This post is based on a trip taken in early March.  We took this trip with our 7 month old daughter.  For more baby travel tips, see Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby and Flying with a Baby posts. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Two Entrances to El Yunque National Rainforest

There are two separate entrances to El Yunque National Forest.  The east entrance (PR 191 and 988) is the more popular entrance. PR 191/988 is where you will see the main attractions including all but one of the hiking trails we discuss below.  The west entrance (Road 186) takes you on a very rough remote road, past several waterfalls, and to the El Toro trailhead.  Our favorite activities were on the east side of the park. We recommend spending at least two days on the east side of the park prior to exploring the west side of the park.  Read our full guide below for more details and use the maps in each section to help you navigate each enterance.  

IMPORTANT: You Need Reservations to Enter El Yunque National Rainforest  

Currently, you cannot enter El Yunque National Rainforest without a reservation.  You can book these reservations 30 days in advance at recreation.gov. We recommend you set an alarm to get these tickets as soon as they become available.  These tickets are not as competitive to get as some tickets for entering other National Parks like Zion National Park, Arches National Park or Rocky Mountain National Park, but we still recommend getting them as soon as possible otherwise you may be SOL.  We encountered numerous people at the entrance to El Yunque who did not have reservations and could not get in.  You also cannot give or sell your ticket to someone else needing one, even if you are not going, because the park rangers check IDs to make sure ticket names match your ID.  

Tip: If possible, get morning entrance tickets because there will be less people in the park 

In the morning, you will only encounter other people with morning entrance tickets whereas in the afternoon, twice the number of people can be in the park at that time.  The mornings are a bit cooler and better for hiking as well. 


East Entrance El Yunque PR 191

In this part of our El Yunque National Park Guide, we will outline attractions and trails from south to north. Use the map here for guidance of the East Entrance.

East Entrance El Yunque National Rainforest Map

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide: Stop at La Coca Falls

At this brief stop, you can see a waterfall off the main road (191) as you enter the park from the east. Our daughter loved looking at this waterfall. She was memorized by the waterflow! 

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide: Hike La Coca Trail

This hike is very serene, peaceful and pretty. We hiked this trail on a Saturday at 9am, and we were the only people on the trail. 

3.2 Miles, 947 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Slippery but not Strenuous Conditions 

Reviews we had read, and speaking with a park ranger we encountered, advised us that this hike was very strenuous due to steep, muddy and slippery conditions. We found the hike itself to not be very strenuous, but the rocks on the trail were indeed very slippery.  The rocks on the trail will likely always be slippery as it is a rainforest, and it has always recently rained.  The initial descent was more slippery and tedious than the climb back up. 

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide

Slick River Crossings

We had to turn around at about 0.6 miles (1.2 miles roundtrip) on this trail because there was a river we needed to cross. However, the rocks were too slippery to cross with a baby.  Sam attempted to cross the river on his own but since he slipped 3 times without the baby, we deemed it too unsafe to cross with the baby.  We would have attempted to do it on our own but would not advise planning to do it if you have a child strapped to you.  Regardless of how far you go and the sometimes slippery conditions on the trail, this trail was a slice of rainforest heaven.  We took this trail slower than usual and got to soak in even more of the rainforest magic it had to offer. 

Vereda La Coca Trail AllTrails 

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide: Stop at Yokahu Tower

You can simply look out from the spot right next to the parking lot or climb up the Yokahu Tower to look out over the park from even higher up.  Regardless of what you decide to do, it is certainly a pretty spot. This stop is short but pretty. 

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide

Note: La Mina Falls/Trail, near Yokahu Tower, is currently closed.  It was set to reopen in 2021 but was still closed when we visited in 2022. 

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide: El Yunque Trail to Los Picachos via El Camilito Trailhead

This hike takes you through the rainforest and into the clouds!  This trail ends at a cement landing that you climb onto affording you panoramic views of the park.  It is a steep climb to the top but 100% worth it. This trek was our favorite hike and overall activity we did in Puerto Rico.  It was so peaceful, and our 7 month old daughter (at the time) babbled the entire hike. 

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide

About 5 Miles Roundtrip, 1,748 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Los Picachos AllTrails

Tip: Try to go on a more clear day or in the morning (less likely rain) to have better views without cloud coverage (sometimes you cannot see anything with full cloud coverage)

Along the trail, there are several small waterfalls and plenty of very pretty rainforest flora to keep this hike interesting.  Also, despite having quite decent elevation gain, the elevation gain was well spread out and the hike did not feel overly strenuous. 

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide

Note: You can hike to Los Picachos overlook and El Yunque from the same base via the El Camilito Trailhead.  See Map.  During our visit, the El Yunque Peak was closed.

Mount Britton Tower Trail

This trail takes you up to Mount Britton Tower that affords you panoramic views across the park. To access it, drive further up road 191 from the Vereda La Coca Trailhead (same road you access La Coca Falls)  

1.6 Miles, 649 feet of elevation gain, out & back 

The Mount Britton hike is along a well maintained trail and mostly paved with rocks.  We advise wearing hiking boots for this trail though as it was a bit slick.  The slickness was nothing our hiking boots could not handle but we saw people in regular shoes struggling (slipping all over the place). 

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 8+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots

Tip: Hike Mount Britton on a clear day and in the morning if able.

Try to go on a more clear day for better views from the top as cloud coverage can completely obstruct your views.  The cloud cover can change in a matter of minutes and go from clear skies for miles to complete cloud cover (it did when we were there). Also, try hiking the trail earlier in the day for the best views/weather as it typically rains in the afternoon in the rainforest (per park ranger). There are also less people on this trail in the morning.  We saw at least a dozen other people while hiking this trail on a Saturday late morning/early afternoon. 

Mount Britton Trail AllTrails

Stop at La Murella for Lunch 

This roadside stand is located just prior to La Coca Falls.  The food here is delicious and freshly prepared.  It is quite overpriced, but you are paying for the convenience of warm Puerto Rican Food in the middle of a rainforest.  This is the best food we have ever had at a National Park site. Typically the food at the National Parks does not match up to the views, but this time it did!  Be sure to bring cash to pay for it! 


East Entrance El Yunque PR 988

Hike the Angelito Trail

The Angelito trail takes you through the rainforest to a river where you can go swimming.  The highlight, for Natalie, at this spot was the rope swing. She had fun attempting to master swinging into the river.  On the trail, you’ll pass through some bamboo adding to the biodiversity you see through the park. 

0.7 miles, 127 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Located on Road 988, Angelito Trail AllTrails

Tip: Go right after it rains or on a weekday to beat the crowds 

We had this normally very busy spot almost completely to ourselves after a short downpour. Everyone else had cleared out due to the rain.  Also, try to go here on a weekday as it gets packed on weekends. 

Tip: Bring a compact umbrella into El Yunque in case it does rain  

We almost always carry an umbrella with us when we hike (mainly because it can serve as quick sun protection for our baby when she is too young for sunscreen), and this definitely came in handy during this downpour. 


West Entrance El Yunque Road 186 

West Entrance El Yunque National Rainforest Map

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide: Drive Road 186

This is a very peaceful and serene drive on the west side of the park. There are several pretty waterfalls along the road and plenty of rainforest flora to adore. In comparison to the east site, this area of the park is rarely visited.  We only saw one other car while driving on the entirety of this road. 

El Yunque National Rainforest Guide

It is important to note that this is a VERY rough road. Park maps indicate it is a rough road and they are not kidding.  We only recommend driving Road 186 if you have a 4 x 4 vehicle.  We did not have a 4 x 4 vehicle and are lucky we did not damage our rental car.  The potholes were filled with water so to access the best route to drive, Sam would get out of the car and use a stick to estimate the depth of each hole. It was a less than ideal situation. It took us almost 2 hours to drive less than 15 miles with the rough road conditions. Again, we do not recommend driving this unless you have a 4 x 4 high-clearance vehicle.  We recommend visiting the east side of the park several times before you venture here. 

Hike El Toro Trail

This hike is located in the west El Yunque National Forest, and you access it by driving Road 186 (at the end of this road).  Based on reviews we read, it is very muddy, some people said they would not do it again and it took most people 5 hours to hike.  We did not hike this trail because at the trailhead, located near the edge of the park, there was a pack of large, aggressive stray dogs.  Based on the reviews we read, we did not think the hike was worth doing to potentially get bit and contract rabies.

El Toro Trail AllTrails


Other El Yunque National Rainforest Observations 

No Bug Bites

None of us got any bug bites while in El Yunque National Rainforest. Normally, Natalie gets eaten alive in Wisconsin so we figured the mosquitoes would be much worse in the rainforest but this was not the case. This was a real win.

Plenty of Shade

On the trails we hiked in El Yunque, there was plenty of shade on all of them.  This made all the hiking much more comfortable and more fun to complete with a baby.  See our How to Hike with a Baby post for more tips on hiking with your little one.  You know you are getting older when you rate something more highly based on the amount of shade and lack of bugs.  Seriously though, trails with no bugs and shade are the best.


Where to Stay when visiting El Yunque National Rainforest

Stay East of Old San Juan

We recommend staying at the The East Point P.R. Airbnb we stayed at in Ceiba (East of the Island) just south of Fjarado and about 30 minutes from the east entrance to El Yunque.  

We loved this Airbnb for many reasons.  For one, the patios at this Airbnb are amazing. The front patio has hammocks under a gorgeous tree and the back patio has stunning mountain views.  The hosts at this Airbnb were so kind and helpful as well. Our daughter also loved the swimming pool which is shared by others at the complex, but we always had it completely to ourselves.  When we visited, there was a reservation system in place to only have one family at the pool at a time. This Airbnb is not a resort and allows for a more local experience as the other people at the complex reside there. 

Luquillo and Fjarado are also good areas to stay in while visiting the island. They are far enough away from the city yet close enough for a day trip to Old San Juan and with convenient access to El Yunque and some of the best beaches/beach hiking.  See our 1 Week in Puerto Rico Itinerary for all our tips on spending more time in Puerto Rico.  You may also consider staying in Old San Juan if you want a lively, city feel and taking a day trip to El Yunque from there. 


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to El Yunque National Rainforest.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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Dog Friendly Apostle Islands National Lakeshore


Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

Being avid travelers to the US National Park sites in addition to being loving dog owners, we were excited when we found out that unlike most US National Park System designations, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is actually rather dog friendly. Everything’s better with your dog, including vacation.  Being able to bring your dog on vacation with you is vital to helping you unwind and relax while visiting a new place.   We spent an extended weekend in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with our pup Gordie and were so happy to find so many dog friendly activities to do with him while there.  Here is our guide on Dog Friendly Activities in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore area. 


Looking for another dog friendly vacation? See our Dog Friendly Door County, Wisconsin Guide and our A Day at Starved Rock State Park guides.   


FYI This post is written based on a trip taken in Mid-August. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Hike the Meyers Beach Sea Caves Trail with your Dog

Our top dog friendly recommendation for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is to hike the Meyers Beach Sea Cave Trail.  We loved hiking this trail with our pup!  Unlike most trails at other National Lakeshores, such as Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, you can hike here with your dog.  Our dog loves a good hike so he was in heaven.  

Meyers Beach Sea Caves

The Meyers Beach Sea Cave Trail leads you to Lake Superior’s waterfront cliffs where you can see some of the Apostle Islands sea caves and Lake Superior from above.  This trail goes through the woods and is mainly shaded (we love a shaded trail) until you reach the sea caves at 1.8 miles. 

At 1.8 miles, you reach the Crevasse, an impressive 100-yard-long fracture in the rocks.  We actually got to Kayak into this sea cave on our kayak tour of the lakeshore (see all the detailed about sea kayaking Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in our What to do Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Unfortunately, sea kayaking is not dog friendly, hence why it did not make it into this guide). 

You can continue on the trail for more sea cave views until the 2.2 mile point but after that, the trail only leads to some remote campsite through the woods and there are no further views of the sea caves.   

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

Not too hard of a hike for your or your pup

We did this hike with Natalie’s parents and our dog.  It was a really nice hike as it was not overly strenuous and had some great views of the sea caves without kayaking.  Natalie’s parents, who do not do much hiking at all, felt it to be very manageable for beginners.  They also were not disappointed with the views.  On the hike back from the sea caves, Natalie’s Dad was sure to tell each hiker we passed about the cool views.  It was adorable.   

Caution: Be careful as the edges along the trail may be undercut/slippery.  You don’t want you or your pup to fall into the water from the trail.  It’s not a short fall! 

4.6 miles round trip, 269 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Cost: $5 fee to park (cannot use America the Beautiful Pass) 


Hike Lost Creek Falls with your Dog

Our next top dog friendly activity for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore area is to hike Lost Creek Falls.  Our pup loved, and we mean LOVED, hiking this trail.  This trail brings you through a peaceful wooded setting to a more impressive than we expected waterfall and small pool area. Our dog LOVED running through the pools of water around the waterfall at the ‘summit’ of this hike.  He was really living his best life zooming back and forth. 

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

The trail is well-maintained with some boardwalks. We did this hike in the morning and had the waterfall/pool area all to ourselves.  It was so pretty and serene! 

2.2 Miles, 216 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Cost: Free to park

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

Tip: Bring good bug spray and tick wipes for your dog.   

The bugs were actually not bad at all during our trip (we all got less than 3 mosquito bites on our 5 day trip) and found no ticks on our dog while there.  However, this very wooded trail with water at the end is typically notorious for both.  We think our bug spray and tick wipes helped prevent us having an issue here.  These are the tick wipes we use with our dog.  This is the non-chemical bug spray we use with our daughter.   This is the deet bug spray we use on ourselves. 


Take the Madeline Island Ferry with your Dog

Our third dog friendly activity recommendation for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore area is visiting Madeline Island/taking the ferry to Madeline Island.  Again, our dog was living his best life on the ferry to the island and on the island itself.  The pictures speak for themselves. 

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

Fun Fact: Madeline Island is the largest and most developed of the 22 Apostle Islands. It is well known for its beaches and hiking trails/biking trails.  It also has some eclectic shops and restaurants.  

Dog Friendly Madeline Island Ferry

The journey to Madeline Island with your dog is half the fun. To access this island, you take the Madeline Island Ferry from Downtown Bayfield.  This ferry ride offers scenic views of Lake Superior, Bayfield, Madeline Island and some other of the Apostle Islands in the distance.  And you can soak in all these views with your pup as the ferry is dog friendly.  

Cost: $17 per person round-trip, $30 per car round-tip.  Dogs ride for free.  The ferry is a bit pricey but again, part of the experience.  See the Madeline Island Ferry Rates for the most up-to-date prices. If you are interested in more ferry ride experiences, see our, coming soon ***, Two-Week Fjords of Norway Road Trip. 

Also, unless it is an extraordinarily busy weekend, you typically do not need to book this ferry in advance.  Just arrive about 15-20 before the time you would like to depart and you should have no problem getting on the ferry you want. See the Madeline Island Ferry Schedule for the most up-to-date times. 

Dog Friendly Madeline Island

On Madeline Island, explore the downtown area with your pup.  A particularly good spot to visit is the Pub Restaurant & Wine Bar at the Inn on Madeline Island as they will serve dog treats while you dine on the patio.  You also can go hiking on some of the trails in the area.  However, note that, unfortunately, not all the trails in the parks on Madeline Island are dog friendly.  The casper trail (1.2 miles one-way) near downtown is dog friendly though so be sure to check that one out!  See the map below for all the Madeline Island trails.


Explore Cornucopia with your Pup

Our next dog friendly Apostle Islands area recommendation is visiting the small artsy and eclectic town of Cornucopia.  Cornucopia is located not far from Meyers Beach and the sea caves hike.  There are several small boutique and resale shops in this town as well as a few restaurants on the main street, many being dog friendly.  The harbor area is very picturesque here too.  

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

For a dog friendly dining experience in Cornucopia, try eating at the Fat Radish Restaurant.  This restaurant is known for its tasty farm-to-table dishes and is of course dog friendly.  Note: this restaurant has limited evening hours (Wed-Sun) and brunch hours (Sun only).  

We actually visited Cornucopia during Cornucopia days (mid August) and there was also a flea market and fundraiser food sale going on.  Our pup was welcome here too.  


Explore Downtown Bayfield with your Dog

Bayfield is a charming small-town on the largest Great Lake.  This town is very walkable with many cute small shops and restaurants, many that are also dog friendly.  Bayfield reminded us of the shops and restaurants in the small towns in Door County. Plan to spend a morning or an afternoon here. Here is a list of dog friendly spots to eat and shop in Bayfield: 

  • Big Water Coffee Roasters 
  • Big Water’s Bakery (get ther Rhubarb Ginger Scone!)
  • Greunke’s First Street Inn & Dining
  • Portside Bar & Restaurant
  • Pier Plaza Restaurant & Lounge 

Where to Stay near Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with your Dog

We highly recommend staying at Mission Springs Resort while visiting the Apostle Islands area with your dog.  We stayed here and had a great extended weekend with our pup and family.  This resort, located right on Lake Superior, offers you superb lake views while also offering plenty of outdoor areas for your pup to explore.  We loved walking down to the lake in the morning with our pup at our side and a hot beverage in our hands.  Mission Springs Resort truly offers you a serene place to unwind and have a great time with your family, including your dog, around the campfire.  For more details on staying here, see our Where to Stay Near Apostle Islands National Lakeshore post.

Call or text Katie at 715-209-8321 for availability or visit the Mission Springs Resort website for the best price and most up to date availability.  Katie is a great resource while visiting the area and during your stay as well.  She is a fantastic host, allowing you your space yet is available for any questions!  

If Mission Springs Resort is fully booked, some other places to stay with your dog in Apostles Islands include the Inn on Madeline Island and this Bayfield Condo.  There are also campsites on the mainland/islands that allow dogs. 


Looking for another dog friendly vacation? See our Dog Friendly Door County, Wisconsin Guide and our A Day at Starved Rock State Park guides.   


We hope this guide helps you plan your dog friendly trip to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

How to Hike with a Baby


Hiking with a baby

Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors with your baby. Exposing our daughter to nature and adventure at an early age through hiking was very important to us.  However, the logistics of hiking with a baby can feel overwhelming.  With the unpredictability of an infant, in regards to pretty much everything (feeding, sleeping, changing, fussiness, etc.), and the logistics of hiking with a baby (supporting their head, carrying all your/their gear, protecting them from the sun, etc.), going on a hike with a baby can seem impossible. 

Hiking with a Baby
Various Hikes with our Baby

However, with the right mindset, gear, practice and dedication, it can be done successfully.  We spent a week hiking with our 5-week-old in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (even doing a 10+ mile hike one day), completed many hikes in Hawaii when our baby was 3-months-old, hiked in El Yunque National Rainforest in Puerto Rico when she was 7-months-old, hiked along the southern coast of Mexico when she was 8-months-old and hiked to more waterfalls than we can count in Iceland when she was 10 months old. Additionally, we have completed many hikes around our home with our infant. After all these hikes, friends and family asked us to share our tips on how to hike with a baby.  Below are our tips for hiking with your baby.  

How to hike with a baby
Hiking with our 10 month old in Iceland

For details on our first hiking trip with our baby, please see Pictured Rocks/Upper Peninsula of Michigan Guide For details on our Hawaii Trip with our baby, please see Maui, Hawaii Quick Guide, Haleakala National Park Quick Guide, Big Island, Hawaii Quick Guide, 5 Stops on the Road to Hana and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Quick Guide. More information on our Puerto Rico, Mexico and Iceland hiking adventures to come soon!

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Flexible Attitude

When it comes to most aspects of life, including hiking with your infant, attitude really is everything.  Be patient and flexible with your adventure.  Know that your baby will be in charge and you are going to just have to go with the flow.  When our daughter is sleeping (she loves sleeping in her carrier), we hike as far as we can. When she needs to eat or is fussy, we stop and take our breaks.  We stop as much as she needs. 

For example, on a 10 + mile hike with her at 5-weeks-old, the first 6 miles of our hike, we only had to stop twice because she was mainly sleeping but the last 4 miles, we had to 5 times as she was cluster feeding.  If we would have had a rigid attitude about when we were stopping, this would have certainly frustrated us.  However, knowing we needed to be flexible and that we were going to roll with the punches set us up for success. 

Hiking with a baby

Set Realistic Expectations

Not only is having a flexible attitude important but also setting realistic expectations.  Everything takes longer with an infant, including hiking (and even writing this post) so set realistic expectations in regards to how long a hike will take you.  For example, when we set out on a long hike with our 5 week old, we knew that between stopping to feed, changing her diaper, doing tummy time with her, etc, it may take us twice as long to complete the hike as it normally would without her.  In reality, it didn’t take quite that long, but it was better to mentally prepare for a longer day than a shorter one.  Having these realistic expectations prior to starting this hike really helped us have a good experience. 

Hiking with a baby
Hiking on Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore with our 5 week old

Do a Trial Hike 

Hiking with a baby
Hiking in Haleakala National Park in Hawaii with our 3 Month Old

Before going on a long hike, try out a shorter hike.  We started with a 2 mile hike with our carrier at a nearby park.  This helped us navigate using our carrier with our baby and bringing all of our supplies with us.  It also helped us figure out when we were ready to do some longer hikes. 

We were ready to do some longer hikes and travel with our baby when she was 5, almost 6 weeks old.  However, a lot of people will not be ready at this point and that is okay.  Giving birth is a major event and it takes most mothers 6 weeks, if not longer, to recover.  Also, some babies will not be ready this young. If you have a baby who hates the carrier or is colicky, a hike at this age may not be right for you.  Give yourself grace.


Have the Right Gear 

Having high quality gear for hiking with your baby will make a big difference in both your comfort and your baby’s comfort.  Here are the items we use and recommend:

Front Carrier: Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Mesh Baby Carrier

Having a comfortable and high-quality carrier is, in our opinion, the most important item to invest in for hiking with a baby.  This Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Mesh Baby Carrier is great because it can be used from 7lbs-45lbs and you do not need a separate infant insert to use it with a newborn.  It offers great head support–on our hikes when our daughter was younger, it kept her head still and supported (while carrying her facing in). Now that she is older, since about 3.5 months, she really only wants to be carried facing out in this carrier. She does not want to miss seeing anything while hiking!

This carrier was recommended to us by our pediatrician for hiking as well as by family and friends for everyday use.  It is very comfortable for whoever is carrying the baby.  Natalie has hiked over 12 miles with it at one time, while also wearing a backpack, comfortably. With the way it is designed, it puts most of the weight of the baby on your hips. Further, this specific Ergobaby Carrier has a cool mesh design that helps keep the baby better ventilated. It also has an included head sun/rain cover that comes in handy often.  

Hike with Baby

Great for Hiking & Beyond

Beyond hiking, this carrier is great for everyday use.  Natalie often has worn it around the house when our daughter is fighting sleep as she really likes sleeping in it.  Natalie tried on a lot of different brands of carriers prior to purchasing this one and it is hands down the most comfortable (for both parent and baby) and easiest to use.  Some of the other carriers she tried on, especially the Infantino ones, had so many straps and felt very awkward.  Make the investment in this carrier. 

Portable Changing Pad: Skip Hop Portable Changing Pad

This changing pad is easy to lay on the ground and change your baby along the trail.  The Skip Hop Portable Changing Pad wipes off easily and has a place to store diapers, wipes and diaper cream as well.  It also fits compactly in your hiking backpack.  We use it when we are out and about during our day to day life too. 

Breastfeeding Tops: Bearsland Breastfeeding Tops

These breastfeeding tops make breastfeeding anywhere discrete and easy.  Bearsland Breastfeeding Tops make it easy to nurse her while sitting off the trail on a log.  Natalie has been living in them since our daughter was born, while traveling and at home, and owns 6 of them.  These particular tops are more economical than most breastfeeding tops which is a plus as well.  You may have to try out a couple types of breastfeeding tops before you find one that works for you.

Compact Umbrella: UV Protective Compact Umbrella

Hiking with a baby

A compact UV protective umbrella will allow you to create shade wherever you need it while hiking. When we hiked in Hawaii, this was particularly helpful as the sun was plentiful while shade was minimal on many of our hikes. We use it to create shade for our baby while hiking (especially important early on since babies cannot wear sunscreen until 6 months) and to create shady spots for our baby while changing her or doing anytime out of the carrier.  Also, when we unexpectedly got rained on while hiking in Hawaii, it kept our baby nice and dry. This particular umbrella is great because it is compact and UV protective. 

Diaper Bags: Munchkin Diaper Bags

You will need to pack out all your diapers and these contain them well in addition to keeping the smell down. 


Be Dedicated and Don’t be Paralyzed by Fear 

That being said, do not let your anxieties about hiking with your baby paralyze you.  To be honest, we were a bit nervous to take our baby on her first hiking trip. We were mainly fearful of the unknown and what kind of days she would be having on days we planned to do different things.  However, we are so glad we did not let those anxieties stop us and ripped the bandaid off.  We made our days flexible, nothing was set in stone and everything was on our own time.  With the right gear and expectations, we had a great first hiking trip with our baby girl and many other successful hikes since then. 

You CAN Hike with your Baby

Many people told us hiking and travel would not be possible with a baby.  However, that is not true.  Adventure is still completely possible with a baby.  People who say you can’t adventure with your baby are either too scared and/or not dedicated enough to make it happen.  Everything takes longer and requires a lot more planning with a baby, but once you accept that fact and work with it, you’ll realize it can be done. The reward and accomplishment of trying and completing traveling adventures with your little one is worth it.  

To read more about our hiking adventures with baby, please see Pictured Rocks/Upper Peninsula of Michigan Guide, Maui, Hawaii Quick Guide, Haleakala National Park Quick Guide, Big Island, Hawaii Quick Guide, 5 Stops on the Road to Hana, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Quick Guide and What to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. More information on our Puerto Rico and Iceland hiking adventures to come soon!

For other traveling tips with baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips and Flying with a Baby post.


We hope this guide helps you plan a hike with your baby.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


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The Best Hiking Apps


Hiking is one of our favorite ways to get out and explore while traveling.  We look forward to summiting mountains and finding some of the most spectacular views in the world through hiking.  A big part of how we find and decide what different hikes we want to complete is through using different hiking apps. Through seeing pictures and reading reviews, we find inspiration for the best trails to complete.  These apps also give us all the details about distance and elevation, which are very pertinent details when preparing for a hike.  Here is a list of our three favorite apps below. 


#1 All Trails App 

Arches National Park
Arches National Park

This website really has the best database of hiking information. On this website, you can see the top hikes in an area and search different trails.  The information on this app is usually very accurate which is always important when planning a hike.  We like to use this application to plan out our hikes as you can make different lists with it (i.e. Anchorage hikes, Arches National Parks hikes, RMNP hikes, etc.) and share them with your friends. 

Our favorite feature of this app is that you can track your hike using it.  Even if you do not have data or service, you can track your hiking route using your phone’s GPS, just on airplane mode.  This feature has helped us several times, most recently at Arches National Park (see Arches National Park Quick Guide). When we were uncertain if we were on the right route, we simply pulled up the app and were able to make sure our GPS was still tracking on the correct path.  

The comments section of the hikes on this application are very helpful as well.  In the comments section, people rate the hike and discuss pros/cons as well as current trail conditions.  Reading these remarks the day of or before is a good way to be even more prepared for your hike. Important points we have used include finding out if there is snow on the trail or finding out the trail is closed in one section. 

There is a free version and a paid-for version of this application.  We use the free version and it does everything we need it to do, even the tracking.  If you try to track your hike on the free version, it may give you an error message at first but as long as you have the hike previously saved to a list, you should be able to track it.   

All Trails


​#2 Hiking Project App  

Shortoff Mountain, Linville Gorge
Shortoff Mountain, Linville Gorge

This website is similar to All Trails but with a smaller database.  We like this application because it shows the top hikes in certain areas in a more straightforward way than All Trails.  You can download offline maps from different states and then search for different hikes while you are in the area without data and without having a specific hike saved in advance. We download the states prior to our trip where we are visiting to have this information handy.  We found this application to be extra helpful in North Carolina (see Hiking Shortoff Mountain near Asheville, North Carolina) where some of the trails we hiked were not on All Trails. 

Hiking Project


#3 National Parks App

Lion Lake, RMNP

This application is made by the same developers as the Hiking Project application and quite user friendly as well.  It shows you the top hikes in each National Park that is in its database.  Most of the National Parks are on this application but the database is still growing.  We use this application mainly for inspiration for hiking views we want to see through pictures on the app. This app is how we found one of our favorite hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park to Lion Lake (see Top 5 Long Day Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park).  Definitely check out this app if you are headed to one of the National Parks. 

National Parks App


When planning a hiking trip, we use a combination of all three of the above apps (only the top 2 if it is not a National Park) to decide which hikes we would like to complete. All three are great references and we recommend downloading each.  Additionally, given required cellphone use to track hikes, always charge your phone prior to leaving, have other members of your party download the app, and consider a back-up battery pack for the extra long hikes.

Looking to plan a hiking trip? Please see: 

Can you tell we really like to hike?


Are there any other hiking apps you use?  Please leave us a comment. We’d love to hear about them and hear from you. 

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned! 


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