Black Girls Hike: What You Need To Know Before Hitting The Trails

African American woman hiking GirlTrek

Photo: GirlTrek.org

One of the best parts of living in Phoenix, AZ is the variety of magnificent mountainous trails, like “The Superstitions,” Papago Park, Deem Hills West or small climbs like Tempe’s Hayden Butte – all which are lined with diverse cacti, critters, and creative juice. Of course, I can’t leave out the amazing views. There’s tons of reasons to get moving, but like many outdoor adventures, making sure you properly prepare yourself before hitting the trails is key to having a good time and staying safe.

Organizations like GirlTrek, the largest public health movement and nonprofit for Black women and girls in the country, are helping to get more Black women in green spaces and equipping them to be nature pros.

“GirlTrek believes that Black women have the solutions to make the world healthier and stronger. When women get outside, they notice their environments and opportunities to act. This leads to the greening of communities, greater interest in environmental issues and a desire to explore more of the great outdoors.,” leaders of GirlTrek said in a recent interview with the American Hiking Society.

Every summer, GirlTrek brings Black women and girls on hikes in some of the country’s most beautiful places like the Great Smoky Mountains and Yosemite National Park as part of the GirlTrek Summer Trek Series. The hikes are led by GirlTrek’s trained and certified trip leaders.

“These hikes are ways to bring even more Black women and girls out into nature and experience the wonder of the great outdoors and the sisterhood of the GirlTrek health movement,” GirlTrek explained.

With summer temps climbing day by day, here’s what you should know before trekking it out.

Wear the right shoes. Leave the sandals and flip flops at home. For short hikes or more level terrain, a sturdy pair of sneakers are fine. For longer hikes or trekking through the mountains or over rocks, investing in a pair of hiking boots will offer more support. Whatever the footwear, always check to make sure you’re laced up and tied tight.

hiking shoes GirlTrek

Photo: GirlTrek.org

Dress in layers. The weather can be unpredictable, and your body temperature will likely change throughout the hike. Dressing in layers helps you to adjust accordingly. Two important rules that the American Hiking Society recommends are: avoid cotton because it keeps moisture close to your skin and always carry a hat, which will protect you from the blazing sun (or other elements). There are numerous fabrics that wick moisture, dry quickly or conserve heat. Opt for these.