My newest book for children is “Hiking and Backpacking” (2017, Mason Crest) is oriented to Middle School-aged kids. Published in hardcover, the book’s graphics and design are pretty cool and, combined with my prose, I hope we succeed in inspiring these younger teens to hit the trail. As the back cover reads:

"Hiking and Backpacking," a new book for children by John McKinney
“Hiking and Backpacking,” a new book for children by John McKinney

Take a hike! To hikers, that’s a call to action! Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities around. In this book, a national hiking expert takes you out on the trail and gives you tips on how to make your trips, fun, unique, and safe. Learn about what gear to bring while backpacking, plus some fun ideas for food on the trail. Also, read about some of the best places to go hiking! Lace on your boots and hit the trail!

In the first chapter I start with the very basics:

Hiking is taking a walk on a trail in nature. Walking to school on sidewalks is not hiking, and neither is walking around the mall. But walking a path in the forest or a trail in the mountains is hiking. So is walking a path in the desert or along the seashore. Every hike is a walk, but not every walk is a hike.


The book is part of THE GREAT OUTDOORS! Series, put together by my friend Jim Buckley of Santa Barbara and his Shoreline Press. Other books in the series include Horseback Riding, Fishing, Mountain Biking and Snow Sports.

If, like me, you worry about kids and their Nature Deficit Disorder and how we can reconnect them to nature, you’ll love the blurb about the book series:

Put down the screen! Turn off the TV! Unplug…and experience the joy of THE GREAT OUTDOORS! In each book in this series, readers are inspired to try a new activity that they can’t do with a smart phone. Try something new or find out more about a favorite activity. It’s a big world out there…get out and see it in person!

Yes, kids, get outdoors! And when you do, take a couple of adults with you.

Hike On.

The Trailmaster

John McKinney