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Are you trying to find a hiking buddy? Not sure where to look?
If you don’t have family or friends that share your interests, there are great resources for finding people who’ll love sharing in outdoor adventures with you. I’ve used many of these resources myself and have made lifelong friends from doing so.
Let’s look at the benefits of having hiking buddies and where you can easily find like-minded hiking buddies.
You’re going to be on your way to finding new friends for outdoor adventures in no time!
Benefits of Hiking Buddies
There are benefits to hiking with others especially if you’re new to the outdoors or to the trail you’ve chosen to hike.
- More experienced hiking buddies can help you learn about the outdoors and how to use your hiking gear.
- Hiking buddies can help you navigate new unfamiliar trails and provide insight if lost.
- Hiking buddies can help if you get hurt.
- Buddies help improve comfort levels when hiking. Hiking alone can be intimidating and lonely.
- If you’re trekking, backpacking, mountaineering or camping, buddies can help share the load like the tent, food, and cooking gear. They also share in the responsibilities like setting up camp and cooking.
- The right hiking buddies can be a lot of fun!
- Hiking with others can be a safety benefit.
- Solo Hiking: 12 Things To Consider Before Hiking Alone
- Hiking, Trekking, Backpacking & Mountaineering: Differences?
Where to Find Hiking Buddies and Hiking Group Opportunities
No matter where you find your hiking buddies practice safety and common sense.
- There is safety in numbers.
- If it’s just one buddy you’ve found, meet in person first to get a better sense of them and what they are about. You don’t want to get stuck out on a trail with someone you don’t mesh with or find questionable.
Ask Family and Friends
Whether you’re new to hiking or other outdoor activities, friends and family are a great resource. They may want to join you or may know others they can put you in contact with.
Friends and family often offer a great opportunity for meeting like-minded and safer hiking partners. There’s also built-in trust and comradery with friends and family.
Meetup.com is one of my top online resources for meeting like-minded people for outdoor adventures.
Why do I have such an affinity for the outdoor groups on Meetup.com?
I met my wife on a canoeing/kayaking trip through a Meetup outdoor group! How’s that for a lifelong connection? It’s been years since I met her and we now have a baby on the way. Joining and participating in that group set me up for the greatest adventure of my life!
Ask your Facebook friends if they hike or know of anyone who’d be up for a hike.
There are also thousands of outdoor facebook groups that offer incredible opportunities.
The bonus about Facebook is that you can somewhat vet potential hiking buddies. You can communicate with other members easier than on Meetup.com and can even friend them on Facebook before you ever meet them in person.
Your workplace may offer a great opportunity for meeting others who love the outdoors. Ask around.
Your church may have some outdoorsy people interested in being your hiking buddy. Your church may also have groups. Our church offers members the opportunity to meet in groups formed around common interests.
I’ve participated in and even lead Christian groups. If your church offers groups but doesn’t have an outdoor group, consider starting one. You’ll meet a lot of wonderful people.
Local Colleges and Universities
Local colleges and universities offer continuing education opportunities that center around outdoor activities. They may even have clubs you can join as well.
I used to take a lot of continuing education courses in a variety of subject matters that interested me. Kayaking was my favorite of all the classes. I took kayaking over 20 years ago at the University of Memphis. It was in Winter and taught in an Olympic size pool. It covered the fundamentals of kayaking and the college provided all the equipment.
I met people in that class that became my closest friends for many years. We saw each other often until I moved away. We’re still friends on Facebook though and I cherish the times we’ve spent together.
Local outfitters are great for finding a hiking buddy. Ask one of the salespeople or managers about opportunities offered through the store or check out their website. Many outfitters have an events page on their website.
Local outfitters are also in tune with outdoor opportunities in your area and can give you a variety of leads.
Opportunities for finding a hiking buddy through an outfitter may include flyers at the store asking for trail partners, classes, meetings, or other gatherings with outdoorsy people.
When I lived in Nashville TN, I used to go on monthly full moon hikes offered through a local outfitter.
Local Parks and Nature Centers
Many local parks have visitors centers and nature centers that offer all kinds of opportunities for meeting new hiking buddies. Many have hikes that they lead or other gatherings.
Be sure to get on their email lists… While writing this post a forestry outreach center emailed me about a stargazing party. That sounds like a fun way to meet new people!
Outdoor Associations and Clubs
Many cities and regions have outdoor associations and clubs. A quick online search will usually take you right to them. If not, ask your local outfitter or ranger at a park’s visitor center.
I’ve often met people along trails, at trailheads, picnic areas, and visitor centers. With some luck, the right conversation could lead to friendship and a great hiking buddy.
How to Choose Hiking Buddies
Many people look for people with similar skill levels. I’d challenge you to find a hiking buddy or hiking group with skills that exceed yours. You’ll learn from them and will advance in knowledge in skill far faster than if you hike with a partner that has a skill level equal to or lower than yours.
A really awesome bonus to having buddies better than you… Their outdoor toys! They might even let you borrow or test out some of their cool gear!
Make sure you click with your new hiking friends! No sense in having uncomfortable hiking experiences. You’re out there to have fun!
You never know where you might find a hiking buddy or hiking group. Keep your mind open to new possibilities and you’re sure to find wonderful new friendships for outdoor adventures.