This guide is intended for people who want to lead a moderate hike during daylight hours, on well-marked trails, with adequate equipment and supervision. These guides, templates, and sample documents that will help you to further craft your program. We also include videos and e-learning tools supplied by our partner organizations that will help you effectively get youth into the outdoors.

You can start with a video from our partner Sierra Club, which gives you an overview about how to lead a hike.

How to lead a hikeVIDEO (00:15:50) How to Lead a Hike

This video has been provided by our partner Sierra Club and gives an overview of what to consider when you plan on leading a hike.


Before you get started make sure the day is planned and all of the required resources are in place. When preparing for your hike consider all aspects of proper planning such as safety, logistics, and supplies. Use the tools in the following section to help plan and prepare your hike.

Intro and Overview Hiking with YouthGUIDE Introduction and Overview – Hiking with Youth

This guide is an introduction to the qualifications and knowledge needed to run a youth-focused hiking program.

Hiking Day PlannerGUIDE Hiking Day Planner

This is a more in-depth plan for a day on the trail. Use this in advance of a trip, plan out the details and your hiking trip will run smoothly.

TEMPLATE Hiking Day at a Glance

This template gives you a sample of how a day might run in terms of timing, mechanics, and includes some helpful reminders of how to keep things running on time.

LOPTEMPLATE Local Operation Plan

This template is prepared to help you produce a Local Operations Plan (LOP). This is a document that collects emergency information in one place and that permitting agencies may require you to file with them in advance of a trip.

Trip LogTEMPLATE Trip Log

This template contains simple information that is pertinent to your trip. You can customize this template in any way you choose, adding anything specific and relevant to you.


On the day of the hike, you have already prepared everything that you need. You should have printouts of the Day at a Glance, Trip Log, and your Local Operation Plan with you. You can use the checklist below to make sure you have everything you need.

Hiking GearCHECKLIST Hiking

This checklist is for hiking supplies, it is not exhaustive and may need to be modified and added to suit your program.

Waiver and Medical FormSAMPLE Waiver and Medical Form

This is a sample trip waiver and medical form from our partner Outdoor Outreach. Please check with your medical personnel and insurance to make sure that the forms you use are suitable to your insurance coverage, youth population, and trip area.


The sections above provide you with the tools you need to prepare and to run your hiking trip. Additionally, we have included resources from our partner organizations below that will give you further tools to develop your program.

Outing LeaderSAMPLE Sierra Club Outings Leader Handbook

This is a detailed sample handbook that will give a comprehensive overview of how a large organization handles it’s hiking program.

Local EmergencySAMPLE Local Emergency Resource Guide

This document is a sample Local Emergency Resource Guide. It contains all relevant details around a specific outdoor activity site including names and phone numbers for support services like rangers, visitor centers and nearest hospital or medical services