Take a Hike!

While National Hiking Day or Take a Hike Day is just one day each year on November 17 – that doesn’t mean Girls Scouts aren’t out there hiking and enjoying nature any given day of the year! 

Are you ready to grab your hiking stick and hit the trails? Here are a few ways to help prepare you for many adventures, whether at a camp, state, national park, or beyond!

Start with the Hiker Challenge Program

Hiking opens a whole new way to discover what the outdoors offers. 

A great way to get started in hiking is by using the GSWO Hiker Challenge Program – designed to focus on gaining hiking skills, exploring the many trails at GSWO camps, and providing fun games and activities to do along the way. You can earn that camp’s hiking medallion each time you hike two or more trails! If you hike two trails at all six camps, you reach the ultimate GSWO Hiker Challenge medallion. Learn more about the Hiker Challenge program.

Learn Valuable Hiking Skills

While jumping on a trail and having a fun and successful hike is easy, it’s always best to know more about your newfound activity. Hiking skills include what to wear and take on a hike, learning trail terminology, trail etiquette, and safety rules, interpreting trail markers, using trail signs, and knowing how to read a map and use a compass. And don’t forget to practice Leave No Trace principles and volunteer for trail projects. All these topics are reviewed in the Hiker Challenge Guide!

Create your Hiking Stick

Whether you earn GSWO hiking medallions or medallions from other hiking trails – you need a hiking stick to put them on! Instead of buying a fancy one, you can create your own by finding the perfect branch. Remove all the twigs, strip off the bark if you’d like, and then decorate your stick with carvings, wood burnings, paintings, emblems, or even the all-important bear bells. You can stain or varnish your stick and finish, thread a piece of rawhide lace or string through a hole at the top, adjust the length to form a loop to fit your wrist, and now have your own hiking stick!

How to Hike GSWO Camps

Most every trail at GSWO camps is detailed in the Hiker Challenge Guide, including where the trail begins and ends, the length of the trail, and a description plus features along the way. A tracker form is included in the guide and lists the trail’s elevation change and the terrain, enabling you to decide whether a trail is right for you to hike. While you can’t just drop by a camp to hike, it’s easy to have access to the trails by reserving the camp over a weekend, staying after a program event to hike the trails, or heading out to camp on a Monday through Thursday for three free hours of hiking. 

To reserve a camp property, including the three hours for free, visit our online DoubleKnot property reservations.

Hike During the Four Seasons

Each season has definite advantages for hiking and things to be aware of when deciding when to go hiking. Spring features the fresh new growth along the trail – wildflowers blooming, leaves starting to show on trees, but it may be rainier and muddy. Summer hiking hosts beautiful sunny days and warm nights but might be buggier and more humid. Foliage full of beautiful colors highlights the scenery along the trail in the fall but also brings more people to the woods. Winter hiking guarantees few bugs, water bottles stay cold, and the views are fantastic without all the leaves. Plus, there are fewer people on the trails. 

All these seasons make hiking a must-do activity!

So, what are you waiting for? Grab those boots and your newly made hiking stick and hit the trails for great outdoor adventures! You may discover a new, healthy passion!

Explore the GSWO Hiker Challenge Medallion program >>

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