The compass and map idea is a good one. That way it could not be just a gift, but a learning experience (how cheesy does that sound?)
She does already have a good sun hat she loves, having recently moved to Oregon from New Mexico.
Bandana - how did I not think of that one? I am always going on and on about the million-and-one uses of a bandana.
The knife I was thinking of avoiding more because of the argument likely to ensue with my sister, more than my neice's maturity level.
My niece is now 12. As of right now, I am planning West Rim trail (down only) as a 1-night backpack. I just don't know about asking a kid to climb back up that trail. Then again, she did fine on the Grandview Trail last year (especially going up), so I may re-think that.
Most of that trail is at higher elevation and you end the 2nd day at the Virgin River, so I recall it as being a good summer choice.
Hiking all the way through the Narrows just seemed a bit too daunting for a kid, since even if you camp, you have to make ~8 miles per day over bowling ball rocks - it seems they only allow 1-night stays in the canyon.
Figured we could hike up some of the way one day as a day hike.
Think I'm leaning toward the compass/map. Maybe a simple book about compass use/orienteering.
Does anyone know any good ones?