Hiking is often a lonely undertaking and some people like it that way. However, the best hiking adventures are those that are done with friends and companions. The problem is that not all of us have friends who like hiking or will be available to go on a hike when we want to.
If you are someone who values companionship on your long hikes, and there are many benefits for that, here are some tips on how to find the best hiking buddy for your next big hike:
How to find a Hiking Buddy – Look in the Right Places
Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can look for and find hikers with whom you share the same interests. We all have varied goals when it comes to hiking; some of us prefer short trails and others longer trails; some prefer rough terrain and others an easier hike.
There are some people who prefer to engage in extra activities such as bird-watching, photography, camping etc while others prefer the Spartan “no-frills” hike where the only objective is the conquest of the trail and not the other little luxuries along the way.
That is why it is imperative that you choose the right hiking partners whose objectives closely align with yours. Some of the best places to find hiking buddies whose interests match closely with yours include the Sierra Club and the Meetup.com Hiking group in your locality.
If there is a local Sierra Club chapter in your locality, check them out and see if they are planning to organize any hikes that you might be interested in. The Sierra Club outings are generally open to both members and non-members so you should have little problem landing a place on their next hike.
These outings are generally organized by volunteers and can include a vast array of activities that you might be interested in ranging from hiking to bird watching, water skiing, cycling and many others. With the diverse palette of activities, you can simply pick what you are interested in. Check out this link for information on any upcoming outings close to you.
Also interesting: Hiking with Kids: Heed these 10 Tips by Experienced Parents
Meetup.com has been around for quite a while and is one of the best local networking tools that you can use to find local hiking partners. It allows you to easily connect with members of local community and hold face to face meetings.
The only drawback with Meetup.com is that you may not always find the right people or quorum as the target group of people still using the network is quite limited. Click here in order to search for any local hiking group situated close to you.
Local Facebook Groups:
Virtually every living soul on the planet now spends some time on Facebook so it is a no-brainer that the social network is one of the best places to network and find people who share your interests, including your hiking interest.
You could form a local Facebook hiking or outdoor group and invite your friends to join. You can then organize frequent hiking trips with the group members. You should also take your time to search for existing Facebook group that cater to outdoor enthusiasts. If it is a large and active group, you could post your hiking interests in the group and get in touch with people who might be interested in joining you.
If you don’t have friends on Facebook who are into hiking, you could also leverage the power of mutual connections by asking your friends to introduce you to their friends that share your hiking interest.
Check out College or University Outing Clubs:
College students are generally quite active so there is likelihood that the local college in your town has some hiking group or club. A lot of colleges also welcome local people. Research about the local college hiking clubs and inquire on whether you can be a part of their outings.
Asking at Your Office:
An office is also a great place to build some connections. If you can’t find hiking partners outside the workplace, you can talk to your colleagues and join an existing workplace hiking group or join together and form one.
Take a Wilderness Class:
There are all kinds of classes out there nowadays including wilderness and hiking classes. If you are a complete beginner, this is always one of the best and most straightforward way to meet other people who share your interest. This is always a perfect opportunity to meet new and experienced outdoorsmen.
Slack has traditionally been used for chats and internal communications. However, increasingly, it is being used for a whole lot of public interest groups and you can find a community of hikers and backpackers here in your city. Use Slack to chat with the people staying in your area and discover new hiking opportunities, partners and discuss hiking gear.
Lookup any regional Hiking Organizations:
If there is a park close to or in the vicinity of your neighbourhood, chances are there is a local group that organizes hiking and various other related activities. In Appalachia, for example, there is the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Use your local Subreddit:
Reddit.com tends to have an enthusiastic and generous user community so if you are new in a certain city, check out the local subreddit and inquire about the various hiking opportunities or hiking partners.
Check out the Guide Programs in your Locality:
If you are planning to scale difficult and unfamiliar terrain, look for any guide programs in your area. These will cost you a small fee but they are generally worth it as you will be hiking with someone who is quite knowledgeable about the area. Guide programs are also great options for someone who wants to take their hiking beyond the comfort zone.
Just Join Other Hikers on the Trail:
If you are having a hard time finding a suitable hiking buddy, simply lookup the nearest local trail, check out the normal hiking hours and simply show up. You will find helpful hikers along the way to guide you through the trail.
An Open Attitude is Key to Finding the Right Hiking Partner
Be open and communicate with your potential hiking partners so as to better manage challenges and expectations. You might be interested in longer mile hikes, but is everyone on your team on board?
Managing expectations will be key to establishing a cohesive and enduring hiking group or partnership that will make your excursions a lot easier. By being open, you can also hit it off with many people and form a long-term hiking partnership.