National Take a Hike Day Date in the current year: November 17, 2024

National Take a Hike Day National Take a Hike Day, also referred to as National Hiking Day, is celebrated annually on November 17. This observance was created to encourage people to head outside and make the most of the mental and physical benefits of hiking.

Hiking is a long, vigorous walk, usually on footpaths or trails. Hikes can range in difficulty from short walks trough the neighborhood to multi-day backpacking trips in national parks. Hiking is a beloved pastime for many people around the world due to its many health benefits, which include physical exercise, reduction of stress and anxiety, and mental or emotional relief that comes from spending time outdoors.

The history of hiking in the United States dates back to the early 19th century. In 1819, Abel Crawford and his son Ethan cleared a trail to the summit of Mount Washington to attract tourists. The Crawford Path exists to this day and is considered the oldest continuously maintained hiking trail in the United States.

The fist hiking organization in the United States, the Appalachian Mountain Club, was founded in 1876 with the goal of exploring and preserving the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Since then, it has expanded throughout the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States. Another big step in the development of organized hiking in the United States was the creation of the National Trails System in 1968.

Given the popularity of hiking, it is not surprising that there is a holiday dedicated to it. Celebrated annually on November 17, National Take a Hike Day was created by the American Hiking Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to uniting the American hiking community, advocating for the protection and expansion of hiking spaces, and empowering hikers to enjoy and share the hiking experience.

National Take a Hike Day is meant to remind people that hiking can be simple. You don’t have to climb a mountain with a heavy backpack to call yourself a hiker. A short and easy hike in your neighborhood park is a great way to celebrate the holiday and enjoy all the health benefits that hiking has to offer. Just make sure to dress for the weather and maybe grab a thermos of coffee or tea if November is particularly cold where you live.

In addition to taking a hike, you can celebrate National Take a Hike Day by learning more about trail ethics, sharing you hiking experiences on social media (don’t forget to add the hashtags #NationalTakeAHikeDay, #TakeAHikeDay and #NationalHikingDay to make your post more visible and spread the word about the holiday), buying new hiking equipment, introducing your friends to the wonders of hiking, or organizing a hiking trail cleanup in your neighborhood.

National Take a Hike Day is not the only celebration of hiking created and endorsed by the American Hiking Society. There’s also National Trails Day, held annually on the first Saturday of June. National Trails Day was launched in 1993 to highlight the importance of keeping hiking trails clean and safe. It is officially supported by a number of federal agencies.

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