Where to Find People to Hike With

Hiking groups can help you make new trail friends

Two female friends hiking on grass hill above clouds

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While you may love hiking alone it's usually more prudent to bring a friend or two along with you. That improves safety and it can make your hike more fun. But what if you don't have any outdoorsy friends or those who do hike aren't available when you are? You could always try to introduce a non-hiking friend to the joys of the trail. Or you could meet up with other hiking-savvy folks in need of trail partners. Learn different ways you can meet other people and enjoy a hike together.

Outdoor-Oriented Groups

Check your local Meetup groups at Meetup.com. Do a search for hiking and you are likely to find a variety of groups that target different ages, abilities, locations, and associated activities. Some are targeted to people of a certain demographic, such as singles, LGBT, families, or couples. You will have to request to join a group. The organizers can have a variety of reasons for not accepting your request. Some groups are free while others charge a fee.

One advantage of Meetup groups is that they are not always a large group. Sometimes only one or two people respond for a scheduled hike, so you can enjoy a less-crowded experience. If you see that more people have already responded for a hike, you can choose whether or not to join them that day.

Sierra Club and other traditional outdoor club outings are another great way to meet other hikers. These outings may be open to the public as a way to recruit new members. They may have an associated Meetup group or social media presence.

Group Outings

If there is a science or nature center near you, they may offer group outings. State parks, national parks, and other federal lands may have a group hiking program. A local university or community college may also conduct group hikes. Outdoor retailers such as REI often have day hikes and multi-day excursions available. You will often need to pay a fee for these hikes.

Social Media and Bulletin Boards

Picking a hiking buddy sight-unseen through social media, online bulletin boards, or old-fashioned bulletin boards is less safe. If you were to meet up with one other person, you wouldn't have the safety in numbers of meeting up with a group. If you make contact via these methods, it would be best to meet them with a friend first for safety before you go off together on a hike. Have coffee, walk a bit around a local park, and see if you are compatible in skills and personality.

Some of this is about personal safety, but there's also the real fact that when two people with incompatible personalities go on a hike together, they probably won't have much fun — and they may not even be friends when they come back.

Bottom Line on Making Hiking Friends

Group hikes and social sites like Meetup are a great way to meet other people who are interested in hiking. You may make a new friend who wants to join you as your hiking buddy apart from the group. It's a low-risk way to be safer on the trail.