Representation of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in the outdoors is lacking due to a history of oppression. Across the United States there are several BIPOC hiking groups building communities and making an impact by creating more diversity in outdoor recreation. Whether you are a person of color looking for hiking groups or are an ally who wants to help break down systemic racism, these 10 BIPOC hiking groups are working towards a more diverse and inclusive outdoor space.
Black Outside is a BIPOC outdoor youth group making an impact for Black/African American children in San Antonio, Texas. One of their main outdoor programs is Camp Founder Girls, which is America’s first overnight summer camp for Black girls. Another popular program is Charles Roundtree Bloom Project, which is a healing justice outdoor program for youth who are affected by incarceration in Texas. These programs are diversifying the outdoors by bringing youth on hikes throughout Texas, educating them and helping them build a deeper connection to nature. Black Outside has served over 500 youth and continues to serve more with over 12,000 hours spent outside and several hikes and summer camp activities scheduled for the summer!
The Bronze Chapter
The Bronze Chapter is a nonprofit organization founded by Denice Rochelle that offers opportunities and education for people of color who have been excluded from the outdoors in the past or otherwise lacked opportunities to experience nature. By being outside together and learning skills, The Bronze Chapter seeks to strengthen the outdoor community of people of color through different events organized in Washington state. The goal of The Bronze Chapter is to rewrite narratives for the outdoors through adventure, discovery and being vulnerable in outdoor spaces. To learn more about different events, campouts and hikes being organized by The Bronze Chapter in Bellingham, check out their event calendar on their website.
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Culture Queens is a group of BIPOC women who love art in all forms and occupy space in museums, galleries and the outdoors. Culture Queens Outdoors is their camping and hiking group which provides a safe space for women of color to enjoy the outdoors together. They seek to show more Black and Brown women in the arts, outdoors and cultural community throughout all of North Carolina by holding events and partnering with local cultural and art centers. Some of their popular outdoor events include the annual Juneteenth Campout as well as their Mud Girl Run. Check out their events page on their website to join the next campout, hike or Culture Queens fashion show.
Black Girls Trekkin
Based in Los Angeles, Black Girls Trekkin is a nonprofit organization focused on providing a safe place for Black women to enjoy the outdoors. They primarily focus on hiking events which can be found through joining their email list or following them on social media @blackgirlstrekkin. This is a great group to get involved with if you are interested in joining planned hikes in the LA area as well as other outdoor opportunities coming soon such as rock climbing, beach clean ups and outdoor photography skills. They are on a mission to diversify the outdoors with Black females, create an inclusive space for all underrepresented groups and to protect and preserve the planet.
Portland POC Hikes
A volunteer run group, Portland POC Hikes hosts hikes throughout the year near Portland, Oregon. The main focus of this group is to get the local BIPOC community outdoors and feeling comfortable on the trail. They host monthly hiking or backpacking trips and are making an impact by building a hiking community for people of color in Portland. A variety of volunteers lead hikes ranging from short and easy hikes to longer more strenuous hikes throughout Northwest Oregon. To learn more about Portland POC Hikes and to join or organize a hike in Oregon, check out their instagram @poc_hike.
Outdoor Afro is the nation’s leading organization where Black people and nature meet, making an impact in 60 cities all over the United States. The mission of Outdoor Afro is to connect the Black community to nature through outdoor education, conservation and recreation. This nonprofit organization breaks down barriers by celebrating diversity and building connections and leadership opportunities for Black people in nature. Some of the other programs run by @outdoorafro are Making Waves, which teaches children and caregivers how to swim as well Outdoor Afro Leadership Training which teaches people to be outdoor guides in their local community.
Another all inclusive hiking group that is making a massive impact throughout the United States is Unlikely Hikers. They have created a wide reach with a following of around 160k on their social media @unlikelyhikers. They focus on liberating all underrepresented people in the outdoors including BIPOC as well as plus-size, disabled, LGBTQIA and neurodivergent people. By organizing events for people who may not feel naturally welcomed or safe in outdoor spaces, they are providing opportunities for a more diverse and welcoming outdoor industry. Unlikely Hikers is working on building more chapters throughout different counties across the US. The best way to find out about events in your area is by subscribing to the monthly newsletter, making monthly donations or by paying close attention to their social media posts and stories.
Another nonprofit organization based in LA, Hike Clerb is a BIPOC hiking group making an impact for women in Southern California. They provide resources, tools, education and experiences for women of color to heal together in nature collectively as a group. Hike Clerb incorporates hikes and outdoor recreation with the wellness industry to promote healing by offering hiking collaborations with yoga, meditation, breathwork and sound healing. Getting involved with Hike Clerb and going on a group hike is as simple as signing up and showing up. They go on hikes and hold other outdoor events in LA county and San Diego. Follow @hikeclerb on instagram to see regular updates and hiking announcements with this intersectional BIPOC women’s outdoor club.
QPOC Hikers has built an outdoor community for queer people of color in the Pacific Northwest. One of the main ways they are making an impact in the PNW for people in the QPOC community is by sharing stories. Through their instagram, (@qpochikers) and their blog, they share real life stories of queer people of color being represented in the outdoors and empowering others to do the same. QPOC Hikers also focuses on outdoor education for queer people of color so they can feel confident and prepared when they are on the trail. They regularly host group hikes and other fun events including gear swaps and regular Mountain Pride events such as summiting mountains or skiing and snowboarding at Crystal Mountain.
Black Folks Camp Too
Black Folks Camp Too (BFCT) creates an inclusive space at campgrounds across the United States for Black communities and families to come together and enjoy the outdoors. Unity is at the core of what BFCT stands for and they are literally changing the world one campfire at a time. For example, by partnering with Tentrr, they provide safe, accessible and inclusive campsites for Black people to experience camping. These Tentrr campsites are located in every corner of the country and are in beautiful locations where Black people are welcomed and safe and can enjoy hiking, boating and other outdoor recreational activities while they camp with friends and family.
Here at ToughCutie, we want to diversify the outdoors. By getting involved with these BIPOC hiking groups, you can help make an impact in your community!
Written by: Lydia Schuldt