June 1 is National Trails Day, celebrated the first Saturday of June each year. It’s a day designated by hikers and users of trails, the people who use trails for health, fun and adventure.
This should be a particularly American, and broadly celebrated event. We are a nation of trails throughout our history — including in no particular order the Natchez Trace, the Chisholm Trail, various Trails of Tears, the Cumberland Trail, the Oregon Trail, the Overland Trail, the Goodnight Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, the Mission Trails, and countless others. We fly across the continent in five hours today; when European explorers came, they explored the place on foot, first. When humans migrated across the Bering Land Bridge, they came on foot, and populated the Americas from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego.
Hiking is much of who we are.
This year National Trails Day® will occur on June 1, 2013. National Trails Day is always the first Saturday in June.
What is National Trails Day®?
American Hiking Society‘s National Trails Day® (NTD) is a celebration of America’s magnificent Trail System, occuring annually on the first Saturday in June. NTD features a series of outdoor activities, designed to promote and celebrate the importance of trails in the United States. Individuals, clubs and organizations from around the country host National Trails Day® events to share their love of trails with friends, family, and their communities. NTD introduces thousands of Americans to a wide array of trail activities: hiking, biking, paddling, horseback riding, trail running, and bird watching and more. For public and private land managers alike, National Trails Day® is a great time to showcase beautiful landscapes and special or threatened locales as thousands of people will be outside looking to participate in NTD events.
National Trails Day® evolved during the late ‘80s and ‘90s from a popular ethos among trail advocates, outdoor industry leaders and political bodies who wanted to unlock the vast potential in America’s National Trails System, transforming it from a collection of local paths into a true network of interconnected trails and vested trail organizations. This collective mindset hatched the idea of a singular day where the greater trail community could band together behind the NTD moniker to show their pride and dedication to the National Trails System.
View the National Trails Day® historical timeline.
Why Celebrate Trails?
America’s 200,000 miles of trails allow us access to the natural world for recreation, education, exploration, solitude, inspiration, and much more. Trails give us a means to support good physical and mental health; they provide us with a chance to breathe fresh air, get our hearts pumping, and escape from our stresses. All it takes is a willingness to use them!
National Trails Day® also aims to highlight the important work thousands of volunteers do each year to take care of America’s trails. Trails do not just magically appear for our enjoyment; their construction and maintenance takes hours of dedicated planning and labor. So give thanks to your local volunteers and consider taking a day to give back to your favorite trail.
Who Can Host a National Trails Day® event?
Anyone can host a National Trails Day® event. If you need help with programming ideas or would like more information, take some time to read through the materials on the host information page. There you will find all the information you need to host a successful event. Once you’ve planned the event, remember to register it!
Who Can Attend a National Trails Day® event?
Anyone is allowed to attend public NTD events, unless otherwise noted. All public events are listed under the event search page. Events registered as “private” will not appear on the event search page.
What Kinds of Events are Included?
National Trails Day® events involve a broad array of activities, including hiking, bike riding, trail maintenance, birding, wildlife photography, geocaching, paddle trips, trail running, trail dedications, health-focused programs, and children’s activities. Whatever you like to do outdoors, there is bound to be an event to fit your interests. If you don’t find the type of event you want, then plan it yourself — and be sure to register it.
How do Trails Make You Healthy?
Trails give you the opportunity to get your heart pumping, lungs expanding, and muscles working at various levels of difficulty, thereby improving your physical as well as mental well-being. With obesity rates skyrocketing, exercise is increasingly important, and trails provide a wide variety of opportunities for being physically active.
Does National Trails Day® have to be the first Saturday in June?
If your organization has a conflict with the first Saturday in June, plan your National Trails Day® event for a day or weekend that works best for you. No matter what day you choose, be sure to register your event with American Hiking Society; the national attention will draw more participants and media, and American Hiking Society will help you throughout the entire planning process.
Looking for ways to get involved year round?
Become a member of American Hiking Society or join the Alliance of Hiking Organizations.
Got a picture of your favorite trail? Send it in, or link to it in comments.