Did you know that Take a Hike Day happens every year in the US on November 17? If you’ve been missing out, don’t worry. There’s also an annual National Trails Day coming up on June 4.
But you don’t have to wait for a certain day to take a hike. Hitting a forest trail is good for us and good for forests all year round. Forests clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and help regulate our climate, not to mention bring us mental and physical health benefits. Connecting with forests helps take care of them, as they take care of us.
In the United States, public forests offer more than 150,000 miles of hiking, biking, and horse trails, 338,000 heritage sites, and 57,000 miles of streams. Privately owned working forests in the US also offer wonderful places to recreate, provide habitat for wildlife, clean our air and water, sustain our economies and help improve the quality of life of millions.And to the north, Canada has 859 million acres of forest land, accounting for nine percent of forests in the world. About 94 percent of these Canadian forests are on publicly owned land, offering a range of recreation opportunities almost as wide as Canada itself.
Hiking and spending time in forests helps strengthen our connection with them, supporting forests as they support us, now and into the future. Throughout North America, from coast to coast, more than 280 million acres of forests are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Forest Management Standard.
And while US and Canadian parks are places most people think of when they plan their outings, North America’s working forests also offer wonderful places for outdoor activities. In fact, 95% of the forests certified to SFI are managed forests open for public recreation. These sustainably managed forests sustain rural economies while also providing us with many benefits including the clean air we breathe, the water we drink, and the millions of products we enjoy every day.
The American Hiking Society has partnered with Hiking Project to help hikers share information about trails in the United States, and the following trails are among the highest rated.
Celebrate Take a Hike Day by taking your next hike in the forest or planning one soon!
- More than 12,000 mountain passes to explore
- Home of Snowmass Lake and Snowmass Mountain
- Rivers, waterfalls, and wildlife
- Tallest peak in the eastern United States
- Five of the top 10 tallest peaks in the eastern United States
- Known for black bears
- Steep and rocky
- Panoramic views
- Extensive waterfalls
- Premium views of Mount Ranier
- Known for fields of huckleberries
- Popular for bird-watching
- Long coastline
- Interior creeks and waterfalls
- Lush vegetation and abundant wildflowers
To find out more about forest recreation, how it benefits forests, and how SFI stands for the future of forests, visit sfiprogram.org.