Chris McCandless was absolutely right when he wrote: “Happiness is only real, when shared.” This wisdom also applies to hiking, an outdoor activity and experience that’s often much more powerful when done with someone else. So, in this article, we offer you some tips and advice for finding a hiking partner
How to Find a Hiking Partner
In my mind, few things are better than going on a hiking adventure with a friend, family member or your other half, and sharing the experience. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the world. Having someone with whom you can reminisce about an experience afterwards is invaluable.
Sharing a hiking experience with another human being creates a strong bond, which—particularly if it’s been a long, challenging and rewarding hike—will connect you forever.
“Are you new to hiking and need a little guidance? Our hiking tips for beginners should certainly help”
Additionally, hiking with another person is also much safer. In case something happens, you get injured or run into some kind of trouble, being able to rely on someone else can literally save your life.
When hiking in bear country, for example, your safety level increases dramatically when you have a hiking companion with you. Hiking alone when bears are present is not a good idea.
So, this combination of unique shared experiences and safety makes it worthwhile to find a hiking buddy. So, if you’re wondering how to find hiking partners, we’ve got some useful suggestions and tips for you below.
1. Join a Hiking Club
Our first tip for finding a hiking partner is probably also the most obvious one. Joining a hiking club is the easiest and most straightforward way to meet other hikers—members of these groups are by definition avid hikers.
Most towns and cities will have one or more local hiking clubs. Just join them on a hike and, if you like the atmosphere and vibe, simply sign up! They’ll usually also have some kind of newsletter, organize hiking excursions and other outdoor get-togethers.
2. Find Facebook Hiking Groups
As the world’s largest social network, Facebook has no lack of all kinds of groups. You can find hiking groups of all kinds on Facebook, from hiking groups for beginners to dedicated groups of thru-hikers, day hikers, backpackers, regional hikers, national park enthusiasts, and many other demographics.
Facebook hiking groups are amazing places to connect with like-minded adventurers, compare notes on trails, and get tips, advice and suggestions.
3. Ask a Friend
Why not just ask a friend if they’d be up for going on a hike? If you’re trying to find a hiking partner, you have absolutely nothing to lose by asking people you already know. Obviously, you’re already getting along with your own friends, which presents a unique opportunity to build a deeper connection with each other on the trail.
And in case you don’t “click” while hiking, that’s no big deal either. You can still hang out like you used to before. If it is a great match, however, you’ll have transformed a regular friend into a friend for life, with whom you’ll have shared a unique experience.
4. Take a Wilderness Survival Course
In the spirit of ‘killing two birds with one stone’, taking a wilderness survival course allows you to both learn important survival techniques, such as first aid, making a fire and building a camp, and meet other outdoor enthusiasts.
People who attend these kinds of courses and classes tend to be good-natured, friendly, curious and adventure-minded, which are precisely the characteristics you should be looking for in hiking friends.
5. Check Meetup.com
One of the best places to connect with and meet other people with the same interest(s) is Meetup.com. On this elaborate platform, you can “discover events for all the things you love.” It’s a super-convenient way to meet people in your specific area. The fact that there’s an “outdoor” meetup category is extremely helpful as well.
6. Visit Your Local Outdoor Outfitter
As a hiker, you need proper hiking gear like boots, backpacks, jackets and perhaps even trekking poles. You’ll most likely have an outdoor outfitter near you where you can get all of that.
Additionally, most outdoor stores have some kind of advertising board with notes, flyers and brochures about everything from outdoor movie screenings to group hikes and other outdoorsy events in the area. If you’re trying to figure out how to find a hiking partner, this is a great place to start.
7. Become a Member of a Conservation Organization
Most other hikers that I know are members of at least one major environmental organization. These organizations are dedicated to preserving and protecting the very lands that we, as hikers, visit, enjoy and explore. It makes 100% sense to join one of these important organizations if you like spending time in nature.
In addition to protecting landscapes, rivers and wildlife, they often also have various outdoor recreation and conservation events throughout the year. Those include get-togethers like tree-planting days, clean-up programs, bird-counting weekends, hiking trips and so on.
As a dedicated member of a conservation organization, you have yet another amazing opportunity to meet and get to know other hikers and nature lovers.
Great examples of such nature conservation organizations are the RSPB Wildlife Charity in the U.K. and the Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association and The Nature Conservancy in the United States.
8. Go for a Hike With Your Actual Partner
This may seem like a ridiculously obvious tip, but it’s still worth mentioning. If you have a partner—whether it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife—and one of you is into hiking, it’s definitely worth it to try hiking together. That other person is literally your partner in life already, so it would make sense to become hiking partners, too.
9. Chat to Other Hikers on the Trail
When you’re already on the trail, while hiking by yourself or in a group, why not take a minute to talk to other hikers you encounter? You’re both clearly enjoying yourselves in the great outdoors—you’re literally on the same hiking path at the exact same time. Who knows if maybe there’s a connection there?
If you hit it off, make sure to exchange phone numbers or email addresses. Stay in touch and maybe meet up for a hike together in the future. Finding a hiking partner while on an actual hike is much easier than you might think.
10. Volunteer at a Nearby Natural Area
Look at the websites of natural areas near you for volunteer opportunities. Many regional, state and national parks have regular volunteer programs and events, such as trail clean-ups, maintenance and restoration work.
If you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and doing some work for free, this is another great chance to meet other outdoorsy folks who care about the environment. It’s quite likely they’ll be avid hikers, too.
As you can see, there are numerous ways of finding a hiking partner. You can find hiking buddies both online and offline. From forums and online groups to real-life meetups, while volunteering or attending an outdoor course, there are potential hiking partners everywhere!
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