Thousands of Hokies are about to hit the trails and enjoy some much needed, outdoor Zen when the first-ever Hokie Hike kicks off Saturday.

Participating in the hike is easy and it’s not too late to sign up.

Register and then hike anywhere, anytime between Nov. 7-17. The hike will culminate on National Hiking Day. Hokie are encouraged to share their journey through our leaderboard and online using #HokieHike. A portion of the hike registration is a gift to Rec Sports.

Virginia Tech experts said the health benefits of hiking are well known, there’s plenty of beautiful spots to enjoy, and everyone can enjoy the event, beginners and experienced hikers alike. Plus, hiking can be done at a safe social distance while adhering to health guidelines. 

“I personally think it does volumes of good for both physical -- and right now most importantly your mental health. It’s an opportunity to get away from these screens we are on all the time now. We can’t help it," said Stewart Scales, an instructor in the College of Natural Resource and Environment. “We just have to live and work digitally right now. Getting away from screens, phones really does wonders.”

Speaking via Zoom from his home recently, Scales, an avid hiker who teaches cartography and mapping, as well as regional geographies, shared an outdoor recreation map he uses with his students. It has plenty of spots for people to consider exploring.

Hokies looking for more hiking tips and locations can log onto Hokie Hike site

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Matt Lattis, assistant director for Venture Out, said there are no shortage of spots for Hokies to hike and offered some important tips. 

He said people should prepare for their hike, know where they are going, and pack plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing, including footwear. Lattis said people should be respectful of others and the area. He encouraged hikers to make a plan and go enjoy the outdoors. 

“The benefits of being outside have been proven over and over again,” he said. “I would encourage people to not just get away from screens, but get away from noise. Embrace curiosity. Its nature. It's what we’re supposed to be a part of.”

For Hokies looking for hiking help Venture Out provides educational outdoor services to students, faculty, staff, and the greater community. Venture Out specializes in outdoor adventure recreation and can serve as a valuable resource for planning an outdoor adventure.

Venture Out is part of Rec Sports, which provides opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to engage in physical activities to create healthy lifestyle habits. 

The Hokie Hike registration fee is $30 with $10 supporting Rec Sports at Virginia Tech. A gift to Rec Sports supports outdoor activities for students, which are crucial this fall. Outdoor recreation gives students safe opportunities to build community and have fun. 

So far the hike has raised more than $20,000 for the group and more than 2,200 Hokies have signed up. 

Those who participate will get a box of Hokie gear that includes a long sleeve T-shirt, bandanna, and sticker. 

Even during a time where Hokies cannot gather together, the hike is a way for all of us to enjoy an experience together. 

For more information, visit alumni.vt.edu/hike