October 27, 2013

How Do I Start Hiking?

There are many resources to help beginning hikers. The internet is an excellent resource for clubs and meetup groups organized specifically for hiking. Other ideas include clubs named for a specific hiking trail or geographic region, classes or events organized by a local sporting goods store, and don't forget our wonderful state and national parks. 

As a beginning hiker, I was fortunate enough to find a group of women who enjoyed hiking weekly at a local wildlife management area with easy access to trailheads. After catching the “hiking” bug, I wanted to hike more than once a week so I started looking for other groups and new trails. Someone mentioned alltrails.com. I subscribed to their weekly email which provides trail suggestions based on your location and hiking experience, plus a list of local hiking events. I participated in some of these events and learned about groups and organizations such as the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, Benton MacKaye Trail Association, and Meetup groups. It may take you some time to get connected with others who love to hike, but be patient and continue to search.    

Here are some helpful resources for beginning hikers:

1.  Alltrails.com was very helpful in finding local events and learning about new trails. 

2.  The American Hiking Society is a great resource.

3.  The Georgia Appalachian Trail Club is a very organized group. There may be such a group in your state. 

4.  There may be a hiking meetup group close to you. 

5.  State parks offer organized events which include hiking. 

6.  The Benton MacKaye Trail Association offers organized hikes. Perhaps there is a regional trail in your area with a similar association. 

7.  National parks have clubs which maintain trails and offer connections to area hiking clubs.

8.  Cities such as Chattanooga have numerous festivals like the River Rocks Festival which introduced me to an area hiking club.

9.  REI , the closest outdoor recreation outfitter to me, offers classes and events specifically for hiking. 

10. If you live in an area with lots of hiking trails, surely there are regional hiking clubs such as Mountain High Hikers.

Mountain High Hikers at the Miller Trek trail near Young Harris, Georgia.

Chattanooga Hiking Club at Walls of Jericho near Scottsboro, Alabama. 

Georgia Appalachian Trail Club at the Len Foote Hike Inn near Dawsonville, Georgia. 

Tennessee Wild Meetup at Sunset Rock atop Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

Chattanooga Hiking Meetup at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park near Atlanta, Georgia. 

There are many wonderful clubs and groups to help in your hiking journey, and I hope that the resources provided in this post will  help you "Keep On Hiking." 

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. I like the pictures--I see a lot of you are using hiking poles. Nice.