inSERVICE: Take a Hike

Highly Quotable

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

John Muir

American Hiking Society aims to improve trail access and encourage people of all backgrounds to enjoy, share and preserve the hiking experience. Founded in 1976, the nonprofit has mobilized nearly 650,000 trail volunteers, has facilitated more than 45,000 miles of trail maintenance and construction, and has seen $95.6 million contributed in volunteer labor. 

The vision? “We envision a world where everyone feels welcome in the American hiking community and has permanent access to meaningful hiking, including urban, frontcountry and backcountry opportunities.” To achieve its vision, the society aims to: 

  • Empower all communities to “enjoy, share and preserve the hiking experience.” 
  • Advocate for the protection and expansion of hiking spaces.
  • Foster trail stewardship.
  • Collaborate with complementary partners. 

The American Hiking Society works toward its goals through a variety of programs. National Trails Day, most recently held on June 1, 2024, is a day of service for hometown trails. Suggested ways to make an impact include finding a trail service project, advocating for trails with members of Congress, or even just bringing a trash bag along on a hike and leaving the trail a little better than you found it. Volunteer Vacations and Alternative Break provide an opportunity to join a team and work on specific trail goals during time off from work or school.

The group is also deeply involved in advocacy for trails on Capitol Hill, with an annual in-person “Hike the Hill” event, and plenty of resources for those wanting to learn more about the value of—and potential threats to—hiking and hiking access. Position statements cover everything from the impact of e-bikes and mountain bikes on trails, to climate impact, recreation fees and more.

To learn more about the American Hiking Society or to get involved in supporting trails in your community, visit


Tell Us All About It!

Know of a nonprofit organization that has influenced recreation, sports and fitness for the better? Send your suggestion to [email protected].