During the U.S.’s frontier days, the country’s citizens were of course bound to their natural settings. Walking distances across different terrains was a necessary aspect of life, and most people sustained all the walking they could stand and more. But in the centuries since, times have changed, with natural settings becoming rarer as cities, townships, and highways continue to be constructed over the long stretches of natural land that stood before. With society’s advancements in technology, and especially with a year-plus for many of us working from home, many people could likely use a nice hike in the countryside nowadays! Hiking is defined as a prolonged walk that usually takes place in a natural setting, such as parks, mountains, or woods. National Take a Hike Day (or National Hiking Day) is a celebration of this great hobby that takes place this year on Wednesday, November 17th, 2021.
Some History About National Hiking Day
As urban areas grew in size and number, appreciation of the pristine beauty and value of our natural areas increased. In 1876, The Appalachian Mountain Club was formed to preserve and protect mountain forests and wildlands. In 1890, in an attempt to preserve irreplaceable wilderness areas, the National Park System was created, beginning with Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. In 1968, the National Trails System Act was passed. The American Hiking Society originated National Take a Hike Day (or National Hiking Day) in 1976.
Reasons to Hike
The reasons for hiking are numerous:
- Hiking is great exercise
- Hiking is a terrific way to enjoy and explore nature.
- Hiking is relaxing.
- Hiking is self-paced.
- There are over 60,000 hiking trails in the USA.
- Hiking is for almost everyone!
- Hiking is fun!
How to Observe National Take a Hike Day
- Take a Hike!
Thanks to those who have helped preserve our natural areas, great hiking trails abound across the U.S. and beyond. They range in length and difficulty from short, basic, flatland hikes to those which are really almost mountain ascents. Start short and easy and work your way up! One of the great things about hiking is that you can pick the appropriate hike length and difficulty to suit your physical condition and experience.
- Post on Social Media
Share your experience with friends. Help raise awareness of hiking and our beautiful natural areas.
- If you can’t hike that day, send a gift to a friend or loved one who can!
At FTD, we have plenty of options for gifts you can send to all your friends and family, so support your fellow hikers with a gift on this special day.
Best Hiking Equipment
You should always wear a good pair of quality walking or hiking shoes and take appropriate equipment for any hike. A backpack is usually necessary, along with a small first aid kit, a knife or multi-use survival tool, plenty of water, food, rain gear, sunscreen, space blanket, and a map and compass to back up any mobile device. Letting somebody know where you are hiking and your expected return time is essential, as well.
There are many beginner’s trails for inexperienced hikers, which are places where you can spread your wings to build outdoor skills and conditioning while enjoying nature. The Glacier Point Hike in Yosemite is a much shorter, less arduous route to the top of Half Dome, one of the park’s iconic landmarks. Enchanted Rock, in Texas, can lead you up a gentle incline to stand at the top of the largest pink granite monadnock in the United States, while on the other side, rock climbers perch on vertical walls. But great trails are everywhere! To find trails rated from easy to extremely difficult in your area or state, click here.
Some More Difficult Trails to Hike
There are terrific hiking trails in every state of this country and throughout the world. A couple of great American hikes are listed below. These are hikes that require excellent conditioning, hiking skills, and experience. Half Dome in Yosemite is a 15-mile marathon, with 4800 feet of altitude gain, for experienced hikers in excellent shape. Angels Landing, while not as lengthy a hike, features spectacular views and significant altitude gain, with some steep and exposed areas.
- Half Dome Hike in Yosemite National Park
- Angels Landing in Zion National Park
Some National Scenic Trails
These are trails that take months to hike. They are for the experienced hiker searching for a once-in-a-lifetime, life-changing experience:
- Appalachian Trail: 2,185 miles in length, established in 1968
- Continental Divide: 3,028 miles in length, established in 1975
- Ice Age Trail: 1,200 miles in length, established in 1980
- Pacific Crest Trail: 2,653 miles in length, established in 1968
Wrapping Up on National Hiking Day
On National Take a Hike Day, Wednesday, November 17th, take the opportunity to enjoy an area that you have perhaps not seen. Experience nature! Get away from the humdrum daily grind. Take the opportunity to venture out onto one of the many trails that have been preserved for that sole purpose. Respect the trail and the countryside, and most of all, enjoy the day. Nature’s beauty and wonder are exciting to explore whenever possible, but especially on National Hiking Day!