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SunNov 17

National Hiking Day – November 17, 2024

What is National Hiking Day?

Also known as “Take A Hike Day,” National Hiking Day on November 17 may be one of the most important holidays out there. Why? For starters, there’s more than 60,000 miles of trails across the nation. Not to mention, hiking is great exercise allowing you to burn over 550 calories per hour. Plus, being in the outdoors allows you to get away from your phone and appreciate nature’s beauty and wonder. 

History of National Hiking Day

Hiking wasn’t always the fashionable pastime it is today. Before the Subarus and the Jeeps and the Patagonias built an industry around the activity, walking – of any kind – was considered an activity for the impoverished or the vagrant. Until the Romantic era of the Victorian years inspired the likes of Walden and Thoreau to reconnect with nature and that, in turn, inspired the landscape architects to design parks with excellent walking trails (looking at you Frederick Law Olmsted of Central Park fame). Walking then became something of the educated, the unhurried, the luxurious. 
Until John Muir came along and walked his way through the Sierra Nevadas in California and demanded that not only hiking, walking, meandering, sojourning, whatever you want to call it be accessible to every American citizen, but that the country should actively preserve natural areas of pristine ecology and beauty. So in 1890 he petitioned for the creation of the National Park System and we were endowed with “America’s best idea” – Yosemite and Sequoia National Park. 
But even before Muir, on the east coast a small group of people had banded together in 1876 to form the Appalachian Mountain Club, which had a goal to protect and preserve all hiking trails along the historic mountain range, as well as develop new ones. 
So whether you prefer to hit the jogging trails in Central Park or are prepping to backpack the entire Pacific Crest Trail, every step on a trail is with a long line of explorers, trailblazers, and activists from before. 

National Hiking Day timeline

Trailblazing begins

One of the first, major manicured hiking trails is created to lead up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. 

The mountains start calling

In 1838, Scottish-American environmentalist John Muir is born, arguably the father of modern hiking and outdoorsmanship. 

​Higher and Higher

​A team of mountaineers reached Elbrus - the highest mountain in Europe.

​The U.S. recognizes trails

​The National Trails System is established.

​Dick Bass reaches Mt. Everest

He becomes the first person to reach the highest mountain peaks on all seven continents.

2013 - 2014
Paying it forward

​Volunteers put in 241,936 hours maintaining the Appalachian Trail for future hikers to enjoy.

National Hiking Day FAQs

How do I celebrate National Take a Hike Day?

You can celebrate National Take a Hike Day by getting lost, in a manner of speaking. Obviously it’s enjoy a nice stroll in the woods but make sure you bring your compass and ample amounts of water!

Do I tell someone to go away on National Take a Hike Day?

National Take a Hike Day is about more about hiking than about telling someone to go/get away.

What day is National Hike Day?

National Hiking Day is every year on November 17.

How to Observe National Hiking Day

  1. Go for a hike

    There’s nothing like getting out in the great outdoors. Grab some hiking boots, a sack lunch, a backpack, and some water, and hit the trail! Once you start, you’ll wonder why you don’t do this more often.

  2. Share your experiences

    Proud of your accomplishment? Take photos and share your hiking experiences on social media! Add hashtags like #NationalTrailsDay and #TakeAHike to inspire others to go out in the great outdoors.

  3. Take a "Volunteer Vacation"

    Hiking in exotic and diverse locations, all while giving back and building/maintaining trails all around the world. What could be better? Check out the American Hiking Society’s “Volunteer Vacation” for information on how you can make this dream a reality.

Walk This Way: 3 Fascinating Hiking Stats

  1. ​Not just a walk in the park

    ​If you hike the entire Appalachian Trail, you’ll be walking between five to seven months.

  2. ​It’s what the people want

    ​In 2008, “proximity to trails” was the most important amenity to prospective home buyers (this outranked things like access to shopping, golf courses, security, etc.).

  3. ​It Makes You Appreciate Your Food

    ​Believe it or not, hiking makes food (like freeze-dried foods or energy bars) taste up to 35 percent better.

Why National Hiking Day is Important

  1. It's fantastic exercise

    Don't get us wrong — we love our gyms. But walking on a treadmill is more akin to what hamsters experience inside their wheels. To get a better workout, hit the trail. The changes in elevation from flat, to slight incline, to steeper incline, to downhill — all help you use muscles that you may not flex everyday. Plus, on a leisurely hike, you don't feel pressured to keep up with the Joneses in the gym.

  2. Hiking makes you happy

    Endorphins and serotonin make people happy — and you get plenty of them when you’re hiking. These hormones help fight off anxiety, prevent loneliness and depression, and improve your mood. Plus, if you bring a friend along, you’re sure to have a good time.

  3. Hiking is for every age

    Whether it’s hiking the Appalachian Trail or simply walking a well-worn path, nearly every person of every age can go hiking. Plus, since you get to choose the location, the path, and often the terrain, you get to decide how much you want to push yourself.

National Hiking Day dates

2024November 17Sunday
2025November 17Monday
2026November 17Tuesday
2027November 17Wednesday
2028November 17Friday

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