While there are some amazing benefits of solo hiking, I personally don’t gravitate towards it. I enjoy sharing the outdoors with friends, I feel safer, and I am more motivated. I like sharing snacks, splitting the weight of gear on shared items (ie. camp stove, water filter, etc.), having meaningful and deep conversations—I could go on and on. To me, adventures are simply better with friends.
If you’re on the same page and are looking for outdoorsy friends, this blog post is for you. I’ve taken past experiences, suggestions from my online community, and done my own research to create a list of 9 ways you can find a new hiking buddy and hit the trails.
Go To A Meet-Up
Meet-ups are one of the best ways to meet outdoorsy friends because you go into it knowing everyone has the same passion for the outdoors. I have met some of my best friends today at an Instagram meet-up I hosted five years ago. I suggest keeping an eye out for meet-ups on Instagram via your favorite online creators. It can be daunting to go to an event where you don’t know many people, especially if you go alone—but just remember that everyone is there to meet people and probably feel the same as you. If you can’t shake the nerves, you could also bring a friend with you for support whether they enjoy the outdoors or not.
Ask Around to Family and Friends
Asking friends and family if they know anyone who hikes is a great way to meet outdoorsy friends. Maybe your family member or friend knows someone who loves the outdoors—and maybe they’re looking for more outdoorsy friends, too. Lean into your friends and family to increase your social circle and meet more people. It never hurts to ask. A lot of my outdoorsy friends are friends of friends so I know this can be a great way to connect with others.
Also, ask your family and friends if they’d like to join you on the trail—even if they aren’t super outdoorsy. If they’re into fitness, share how the hike will be a great workout. If they’re into wellness, share how a hike would help clear their mind. A little convincing never hurts. Who knows, they could end up loving the outdoors because of your introduction.
While this can seem weird to some, reaching out to people on Instagram is a great way to meet like-minded people. I met the majority of the friends I hike with because of Instagram, so give it a go!
The first step is to find people to follow who live in the same area as you. I suggest searching for location tags on Instagram of local hikes (ie. Saint Marks Summit), seeing who’s commenting or being reposted on your city/region’s Instagram account (ie. @hellobc), and looking through hashtags of your local area (ie. #SeaToSky). To ensure they are from your area, I’d do a little digging and check out their profile. Once you go through some of their photos, stories, and captions, you’ll start to get a good gist of who they are. If you think you could get along, follow them and engage with their posts and stories. Then, message them to introduce yourself. Maybe they recently did a hike that you have questions about or relate to them by chatting about on a hike you’ve both done.
Reach Out Past Connections
Do you follow someone on social media from high school that you weren’t super close with? Are they into the outdoors now? I’d connect with them! Even though you may have not been friends in the past, you have a love for the outdoors in common now. It also may feel easier to go on a hike with an acquaintance from high school vs. a total stranger.
Join a Facebook Group
There are loads of Facebook groups that are great online resources if you’re looking to make a few outdoorsy friends. It’s also common for them to host meetups and events. Be sure to chat with people by liking and commenting on their posts and post in the group itself. You could say something like, “Hey everyone, I’m Angela! I live in Vancouver and would love a couple of buddies to hike Tunnel Bluffs this Sunday for sunset. Anyone in?”.
If you are based in British Columbia, join my Facebook group, British Columbia Hiking – Hosted by Angelaliggs. It’s a safe and welcoming space for anyone in BC to meet other outdoorsy and like-minded humans.
Some options in British Columbia are BC Women’s Hiking and Backpacking Community, Explore BC – For Outdoor Enthusiasts, Hiking British Columbia, or Chilliwack BC Hiking Club. If you’re based elsewhere, go to Groups on Facebook and search for a hiking group in your city or region. Odds are they’ll be one. Here are some general notable ones:
Say Hello To Hikers On Trail or at Camp
This may be an obvious thing to say… but say hello to other hikers on the trail or at camp. If you get into a great conversation and vibe with someone, ask for their Instagram or a form of social so you can keep connected. Asking for their social media is more chill than asking for their number and if they are a homie they’ll be super excited to share their info with you.
Go to Events or Take a Class
There’s a good chance your favorite outdoor brand/retailer hosts events. Go into a local store or check online if they have any upcoming local events or classes. This would be a great way to meet outdoorsy friends because everyone at the event is interested in the same thing you are.
Similar to the above, meeting people via outdoorsy classes is a great way to meet future hiking buddies. Whether that’s training on avalanche safety, climbing, backpacking, sea kayaking, etc, there are loads of classes to go to. Here are some brands that host events and/or classes (that are either free or paid):
BumbleBFF or Meetup
BumbleBFF allows you to see profiles of people in your area who are also looking for friends. You can easily see if potential pals are into the outdoors and hiking—and get a good gist of who they are. If you think you’d get along, swipe right and start chatting with them. I know a couple of women who have made friends this way. You can even use this when you’re traveling since the app shows you people around your current location.
Meetup is an online platform that is made specifically to help people find others with the same interests. While I haven’t used it personally, I can see how this would be a great way to meet outdoorsy friends. Head to their website and search for hiking groups. You can filter by experience level, age, gender, and more.
Go on a Group Trip
Group trips are a great way to meet outdoorsy friends because you’ll meet them while you’re traveling and experiencing new things together. I am hosting a group trip to New Zealand in November 2022 (more information here) and will most likely be hosting more in the future (I’m thinking Patagonia 2023, you in?! Let me know in the comments). I have seen firsthand how group trips have created friendships—and we haven’t even gone on the trip yet. We have all met online via Zoom and chatted for hours and people from the group are meeting up and hanging out with each other if they live in the same city. Come along on one of my future group trips or ask another creator you connect with on Instagram if they are offering a group trip and book a spot on theirs.
So, You’ve Found an Outdoorsy Friend, What Now?
Everyone that I’ve met online or through friends has always been respectful and kind. The worst case is that I didn’t connect with them and knew I wasn’t going to pursue the friendship. That said, before meeting up with anyone, know that there is some risk. Yes, you’ve talked to them, but you don’t really know this person. So here are a few things you can do before heading out.
- Get a sense of who they are by messaging them and having several conversations.
- Before you meet up, ask them about their skill level, fitness level/pace, experience, style of hiking (for instance, do they like to hike fast and get to the viewpoint as soon as possible, do they like to take their time and breaks, or do they like to take photos). Some people are slow and others are fast so it’s best to figure this out beforehand.
- Start on a short hike so you can figure out if they are a good hiking buddy for you first.
- Choose a more popular hike so there’ll be other people around.
- Make sure that a loved one knows where you are going and information about the person.
- Consider having a bail-out plan if you’re not feeling it.
Hope these nine ways to make outdoorsy friends help! I’d love to hear any success stories you have had in the comments about finding friends online so others are encouraged as well. Happy Trails.