Embark on outdoor adventures with these seven Atlanta hiking groups

Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Whitesell

Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Whitesell

Making new friends and finding the time for physical activity can seem like two impossible tasks, especially for those working remotely. These seven hiking and walking groups are making it easier to find friendships and get outside.

Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Whitesell

Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Whitesell

Social Steps Atlanta

When Hannah Whitesell moved to Atlanta in March, she wanted to find a way to explore the city and meet new people. In late June, she pushed herself to start an Instagram account in search of other women who were looking for the same thing.

Since then, the account has exploded with almost 10,000 followers.

“It turns out that there’s tons of girls wanting to go on walks and see more of Atlanta,” Whitesell said.

Social Steps holds weekly group walks on Wednesdays at different spots around Atlanta. Every weekend, they embark on a new adventure, like hiking Stone Mountain, doing llama yoga, exploring farmers markets, kayaking and more.

For those who may be nervous about showing up to an event or walking for the first time, Whitesell said almost everyone comes alone at first, but no one walks by themselves.

“It’s really just a group to improve mental and physical health while connecting and exploring,” she said.

Walks on Wednesdays at 6 p.m., activities every weekend. Open to women of all ages. Free, but fees for some weekend activities. Find upcoming schedule of events and sign up for weekend activities at instagram.com/socialsteps_atl

Credit: Courtesy of Tracy Stephens

Credit: Courtesy of Tracy Stephens

BLK Hiking Club

Tracy Stephens, the founder of BLK Hiking Club, wanted to create a space for Black men and women to feel comfortable hiking and spending time outdoors.

“We’re creating a village of Black hikers in nature,” he said.

It’s an idea that’s resonating with Atlantans; the hikes average about 85-90 people.

“It’s like a big cookout in the mountains,” said Stephens, who started the group in 2021. “We’re dancing, we’re having fun, making TikTok videos, you name it. We do everything that we can to make sure people feel comfortable.”

Their motto is “no hiker left behind,” he said. They go at a pace that ensures everybody will finish the hike together. They’ve also started implementing a free yoga in the park session every month.

“We just want to show people that we belong in this space too,” Stephens said.

Hikes every two weeks, monthly yoga in the park. Open to all ages. Free. Find hiking announcements at instagram.com/blkhikingclub or at blkhikingclub.com.

Credit: Courtesy of Peace in the Wild

Credit: Courtesy of Peace in the Wild

Peace in the Wild

For those seeking extra adventure in their lives, Peace in the Wild offers plenty of opportunities. Founder Taylor Crenshaw began the group as a way to “get Black and brown people outdoors,” she said.

“What better way to do that than to do it in a group and to see people that look like you, to be empowered and to have people cheering,” Crenshaw said.

She organizes outdoor activities for the group twice a month, including hikes, kayaking and tubing. One of her goals for the group in 2024 is to focus on building skills like CPR and swimming. Crenshaw also has events planned including surfing and zip lining.

“It’s a place for you to meet up in person, in the flesh, to get to know somebody, to also branch off,” she said.

Activities twice a month. Open to all ages. Free, but fees for some activities. Find events at peaceinthewild.org or instagram.com/peacenthewild.

Credit: Courtesy of Carolyn Hartfield

Credit: Courtesy of Carolyn Hartfield

African American Adventures Club

It wasn’t until Carolyn Hartfield’s 56th birthday that she discovered her love for hiking. Now, at almost 75 years old, she has her own group, the African American Adventures Club.

“When we first started our group, we didn’t see any other African Americans out and that has changed considerably,” she said.

The group embarks on monthly hiking trips, and all Hartfield requires is “a smile and a friendly disposition.”

She also hosts a weekly walking group called Just Walk as part of the Walk with a Doc program, which offers doctor-led walking groups. Just Walk is for people who aren’t ready to hike but still want to remain active and socialize. It’s available to join in person or virtually.

“We have built a community,” she said. “We support each other.”

Hikes on the first Saturday of the month. Open to all ages. Free. Find hiking announcements at carolynhartfield.com/copy-of-upcoming-events.

Atlanta Walking, Hiking and Socializing

After struggling to find walking groups to join on the weekends, Smyrna resident Sonya Dave’ decided to start her own.

“I created this time for other people in the community to get together, chat, have fun and go for a walk,” Dave’ said.

The group meets on Saturday mornings normally around Smyrna, Marietta, Vinings or Mableton. Dave’ wants to keep the group accessible to everyone, so they aim for three to four miles at a slow walking pace. There is no registration required.

Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. All ages welcome. Free. Find upcoming walks at facebook.com/groups/walksmyrna or meetup.com/altanta-walking-hiking-and-socialization-west-smyrna.

Credit: Courtesy of David Bohanon

Credit: Courtesy of David Bohanon

East Cobb Senior Hikers

David Bohanon started the East Cobb Senior Hikers to help others stay active and maintain social connections, he said in an email.

“Being a senior can be lonely as many lost most of their social connections that they had when working, especially if much of (their) family is not in the area,” he wrote.

He found that offering a group activity like hiking was a way to “meet people, stay fit and get to know your parks.”

The group, which is based out of the Tim D. Lee Senior Center in East Cobb, usually embarks on hikes on Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings. After the Friday hikes, they have lunch together.

Most hikes are within a 30-minute drive of East Cobb and are around four to six miles, but sometimes they hike one to three-mile routes. While some adventures are less strenuous, most have some hills and follow trails instead of paved paths, so Bohanon recommends hiking boots and sticks.

Wednesdays at 1 p.m., Fridays at 9:30 a.m. with lunch afterward. Open to active seniors. Call the Tim D. Lee Senior Center at 770-509-4900 to join the hiking email list.

Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy community hikes

The Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy offers monthly community hikes at different Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area trails.

Details for each month’s hike can be found on the event page of their website.

Once a month. Age requirements vary. Find more details and register at chattahoocheeparks.org/events.