Links & Inspiration to Get Outside!

When I started hiking it started an exploration of how to make a firm commitment to being on trail on a regular basis. In that exploration I’ve found, connected and returned to these sites regularly for inspiration and support. I hope you will find them useful too.


National Park Service (U.S.) – find adventure in any one of the country’s National Parks. Hike, explore, camp and learn.

Minnesota State Parks – find your Minnesota State Park, trial conditions, campsites and camper cabins, and programs to help you explore all Minnesota has to offer no matter the season.

North Country Trail Association – all you need to know about The North Country Trail, the longest National Scenic Trail in the National Trails System, stretching 4,600 miles over eight states from North Dakota to Vermont.

Three Rivers Park District – Three Rivers Park District is a park system in the west suburban Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area of Minnesota with almost 27,000 acres of park reserves, regional parks, regional trails, and special-use facilities. The name “Three Rivers” comes from the parks’ geography, situated within the watersheds that flow into three significant rivers to this region: the Mississippi, the Minnesota and the Crow.

Dakota County Parks – a family of parks that offer diverse recreation opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and stay active year-round.

Minneapolis Parks –  renowned urban park system spanning 6,809 acres of parkland and water. Featured among its 180 park properties are 55 miles of parkways, 102 miles of Grand Rounds biking and walking paths, 22 lakes, 12 formal gardens, seven golf courses and 49 recreation centers. 

Roseville Parks – there are some true gems to be found in Roseville. Check them out!



Women Who Hike – a wonderful resource for women to connect through hiking. Full disclosure that as of February 2019, I have joined the ranks as Co-Ambassador of the Minnesota chapter along with the amazing Jen Theisen (aka. Wandering Pine). Membership fee provides lifetime benefits and gets you access to official hikes. There are also closed Facebook Groups in nearly every state that provide participants access to other women hikers, trail and gear information.

Unlikely Hikers – a diverse and inclusive Instagram community featuring the underrepresented outdoorsperson – people of size, people of color, queer, trans and gender nonconforming. People with disabilities and people who utilize the outdoors to aid their mental health. 

Hiker Babes – A group of women making the commitment to hike at least 100 miles in one year.

Native Women Wilderness – who’s mission is to inspire and raise the voices of Native Women in the Outdoor Realm, encourage a healthy lifestyle grounded in the Wilderness and educate Natives and non-Natives on the rich beauty and heritage of the Ancestral Lands beneath our feet. 

Indigenous Women Hike – Jolie Varela is a citizen of the Nüümü and Yokut Nations who has committed herself to helping healing through indigenous women’s inherent connection to the land.

Hike Hoppers – working to help its members find themselves one hike at a time while strengthening mind, body and soul.

Women of the Wild Midwest (WOW) – who’s mission is to bring together local ladies who love the outdoors.


Road iD – Father son pair Edward and Mike Wimmer founded the company to provide outdoor enthusiasts with a sense of security and vital information for first responders should you get injured in pursuit of your outdoor dreams.

WHO I FOLLOW – My pal Jen is the most awesome hiking gal. I love her energy, her passion and her openness to share her ideas in a non-judgmental way. She’s a blogger, gear tester, ultra lite backpacker, Scouting leader, loving wife and mom. Checkout her adventures. She inspires me and I hope you too. – Wilderness and Remote First Aid Training near Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Knowing how to handle an emergency when you’re far from quick medical attention is helpful for anyone who ventures on any kind of trail. I’ve found this has given me the confidence to know that I can assist (and self-administer) when someone is injured. The Hiking Dude teaches these sessions. He’s awesome and has some wicked practice scenarios.

Great Outdoors Dudes – Paul Kautz (aka the Hiking Dude) has a few other alter egos with a variety of skills and information that’s helpful for any hiker or backpacker. Check out all his personalities!

She Explores Podcast – check out Gale Straub’s website and podcast for inquisitive women in the outdoors, on the road, and besides. This podcast is so inspiring and draws from many sources. I’m working my way through old episodes and find a nugget of truth or information in every one.

VOLUNTEER – the Mississippi Park Connection and National Park Service offers opportunities to help maintain parks and lands.

National Public Lands Day (typically the last Saturday in September) – coordinated by National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF). Find a local event or organize your own.


Minnesota Hiking and Passport Clubs – set your feet to trail and earn rewards while you do it.

52 Hike Challenge – commit to 52 hikes a year. When I was setting my hiking goals for 2018, I happened on the 52 Hike Challenge. It’s free for the basic challenge, but there are levels that include many other benefits, including gear discounts. It’s kept me on track to stay on trail and trained. Options range from free to full award packages that include a medal, patches and retailer discounts.

Hiker Babes 100 Hike Challenge – a global community of like-minded women who share a passion for the outdoors. Join their 100 hike movement to help inspire more women to enjoy the healing gifts of the trail. Chapters are for women only so they are a safe place to share, learn and grow. They also give back to local communities so be sure to check the website for upcoming HIKE FOR A CAUSE events near you.

*Member of the 52 Hike Challenge Affiliate program.

Copyright Ruth Wikoff-Jones, | No Use Permitted Without Prior Permission