Hiking in a group is often an underrated experience. Heading out on a trail in community offers numerous benefits that can add value to your hike and help you grow as a hiker.
10 Benefits of hiking in a group (or with a club)
Why do KTA members enjoy hiking in a group?
Here are five stories from a few of our hiking/trail club members.
Pradip (Chester County Trail Club)
"Before joining Chester County Trail Club (CCTC), I was a lone walker. Although, it was peaceful, soon it became boring since I did not know very many new places to hike. I joined CCTC and since then things are much better. Collective experience makes you aware of beautiful places to go hiking, and teaches subtle details of hiking practices. Besides enjoying the physical benefits of hiking, which everybody knows about, hiking in a group gives one extra and very valuable benefit of social interactions. I have yet to see a “frowny” hiker. Even when they are facing misery (tongue and cheeks) of physical exertion they still have a precious smile on their face.
Cynthia (Lancaster Hiking Club)
“First, when I moved to the area I didn't know where to hike, and going with the Lancaster Hiking Club has shown me so many cool places. Second, as a woman who often hikes solo, it is really nice to go with a group and not worry at all about being on my own. Third, I've made really good friends from hiking in a group, including people both considerably older and significantly younger than me whom I wouldn't otherwise engage with easily. These friends have encouraged me to challenges such as hiking much of the Appalachian Trail and big hikes abroad like the Tour du Mont Blanc.”
Jeffrey (Lancaster Hiking Club)
“One of the things I like about group hiking is the knowledge I've gained over the years: knowledge about such myriad topics as what to pack/what not to pack, identifying fauna and flora, what's new in hiking gear, how to take care of myself when I"m in the woods, and getting to places that I may not have visited before and or even heard of. I like the feeling of safety I feel when I hike with experienced hikers because if I have an accident or medical situation I'll have plenty of help. Someone always has a bandage or aspirin in their pack. And of course, there's the camaraderie and life-long friendships.”
Kathy (Chester County Trail Club)
“I think hiking with a club/group is beneficial in a number of ways and the first one that comes to mind is there's safety in numbers. Another bonus is the opportunities that can be presented with more individuals involved and contributing to the group. Be that a variety of hikes or places to go, helping to lead us to more experiences in the outdoors. In that same sense, the knowledge and experiences of others can be shared, making us stronger physically, spiritually, and mentally. Learning from this and making us more aware of our surroundings and ourselves. Lastly, we can't deny the friendships that can be made and grow from within this group experience, especially with like-minded individuals.
I, myself, have gained a lot in the club/group experience in so many ways that I'm a better person because of it. Some of my best friends are from the hiking community and sharing these experiences with them is meaningful.”
Krista (Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club)
“Hiking in a group exposes you to fascinating stories and experiences of other hikers. You can choose sections of trails that require car spotting. Being in a group gives learning opportunities to hear about favorite trails, cultural sites, hiking and gear tips, birding, animals, insects, and plants.
Joining a club gives you more chances of finding hike leaders that match your preferred pace, distance, and difficulty levels. And, you can try harder hikes when you want to be challenged or want to see something special.”
Try hiking with a club!
How to find a hiking group
You don't have to go far to find a group of hikers in Pennsylvania!
Keystone Trails Association