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9 Outdoor Activities to Try This Year

New year, new outdoor fun! Even if you consider yourself to be more outdoorsy than most people, surely there is an activity that you’ve never tried or have had on your bucket list for years.

In need of some ideas? Check out our suggestions below!

Forage for Mushrooms

Fall and spring mark mushroom season, with the most abundant harvest occurring during the fall, before the first frost. Mushroom hunting is a fun experience that gets you off-trail and feels like a scavenger hunt. 

If you’ve never been before, there’s nothing quite like discovering that first mushroom, then taking your harvest home and creating a delicious meal with your find.

First timers should plan to go with a local mycological society to learn about how and where to find mushrooms and, most importantly, to learn how to identify edible species. 

Our Trailhead shoes would make the perfect mushroom foraging shoe. These lightweight do-everything shoes feature our mountain-to-town sole, combining the ability to go from trail to pavement without a hitch.

Take an outdoor rock climbing course

If you dabble in outdoor sports, chances are that you’ve probably hit up a rock climbing gym at some point. Rock climbing offers a great mental and physical challenge and is a ton of fun. 

Once you’ve gotten the hang of climbing at the gym, consider taking a course to learn how to tackle an outdoor wall. While the movements are similar, climbing outdoors takes on a completely different challenge and thrill than the indoor experience.

Sign up for a new race distance

Maybe you’ve run a handful of 5K races or even a half marathon, but it’s been years since you’ve participated in a race or you’ve thinking about training for a new distance. Well, what’s stopping you?

There are races going on all over the place just about every weekend, so it’s just a matter of picking a race and signing up for one. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to train.

If you’ve run a half marathon, try for a full marathon. Or, if you’ve run a marathon previously, why not go further and tackle an ultra? Perhaps you’ve run a number of road races and want to give trail running a try. There are so many options available that the hardest part might be picking a race!

Try bike touring

Road trips are one fun way to travel, but have you ever taken a rode trip? Seeing the world by bicycle is a slow method of travel that takes you through places that you wouldn’t otherwise stop if you were traveling by car. 

The Adventure Cycling Association has an extensive network of routes and information for those interested in putting together a bike trip. Some states, like Oregon even have designated bike routes designed specifically for bike touring.

Bike touring is essentially like backpacking, only you’re on a bike! You can either stick to roads or ride on backroads (which is called bikepacking). You carry a lot of the same gear as you do for backpacking, only instead of hauling it on your back, you carry it in panniers on your bike. 

You can minimize the weight by “credit card” cycling, which means you stay in hotels and eat out at restaurants along the way, or you can make your own food and sleep in your tent. There are many different ways to enjoy this method of travel.

For ultimate comfort, consider the Mesa as your ultimate cycle touring shoe. Durable enough to handle hours of pedaling, the knit upper is designed for optimal flexibility and air flow to give your feet plenty of breathing room.

Volunteer for Trail Work

If you’re a regular trail user, what better way to give back to your favorite places than by volunteering to help maintain the trail? Search for groups in your region that organize trail work parties open to volunteers. They’re a great way to meet new people and you’ll feel a sense of pride every time you use the trail.

Visit a Hot Spring

Hot springs provide a therapeutic and relaxing experience any time of year and they can be found across the country. Some hot springs are part of resorts and easy to reach, while others require a trek to reach. The harder to reach hot springs will feel more rewarding and of course have fewer people, if you’re looking for some solitude. 

Go for a solo hike

It can feel daunting to hit the tails solo if you’ve never done it before, but it can also be a very empowering and liberating experience. It challenges you in new ways and teaches you to become dependent on yourself. 

In order to hike alone safely, it’s a good idea to start hiking somewhere you’re familiar with and that isn’t too far from a town with some services. Be sure to bring the 10 Essentials and know what kind of terrain, wildlife, and weather you can expect on the route. Lastly, always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return.

Our pick for hiking boots is the Primal Pursuit Mid, a waterproof shoe with a gusseted tongue that will keep your feet dry and warm and a wide toe box that will give your feet plenty of wiggle room as you navigate the trail.

Catch a meteor shower

Several meteor showers occur throughout the year and are a fun way to experience the universe’s light show. They generally happen over several days, with peak days that will display the most meteors. Most meteor showers are best after midnight, so prepare to stay up late or get up in the middle of the night to watch.

The best spots to watch are in dark locations, far away from city lights with an open view of the sky. It is recommended to watch for at least an hour to give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness and practice patience in the ebbs and flows of the shower.

Wild Camp 

Wild camping, or simply camping in an undeveloped area is a great way to get away from crowds and enjoy some peaceful time in nature. The perks are that you’ll likely not see another soul around and you won’t have to pay a dime to camp. Often, the views from these spots are unparalleled compared to what you’ll get in organized campgrounds.

Since you’ll be reliant on your own devices, there will be no running water, bathroom facilities, or other support, so going with an experienced friend the first few times is a good idea to learn the ropes and feel more comfortable being out in the woods on your own.

The best way to find camp spots is to use an app like iOverlander and Google satellite to look for potential camping options. You’ll want to look for open spaces large enough to accommodate your tent or car, ideally near a water source so that you can easily procure water.

Additional Articles

5 Reasons to Get Outdoors This Winter

The winter months can seemingly drag on with the frigid temperatures and increased hours of darkness. There’s a reason that many animals hibernate during the winter months and it’s natural for us to want to do the same. 

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