#OptOutside 2020: Where to Hike and How to Give Back

November 23, 2020
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


#OptOutside 2020: Where to Hike and How to Give Back
OptOutside Breakneck Ridge Clean-up. Photo by Diana Richards.


Find hiking recommendations and ways to give back when you #OptOutside this year.

#OptOutside is a Black Friday alternative started by our friends at REI. Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, everybody, everywhere is encouraged to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Here are some tips:

Hike Recommendations

If you're looking for a new trail to explore, or just need some recommendations, we've compiled our favorite "less-traveled" trails—because the most popular trails and outdoor destinations in our region all have alternatives that are equally spectacular if you know where to go. Bonus: When you opt for an alternative hike, you’re part of the solution and practicing Leave No Trace principles to help alleviate the overuse of popular trails.

Additionally, we have rounded up our top 10 no-hunting hiking areas, since regular (rifle) hunting season remains open through Dec. 13 in many parts of our region. Remember: Wherever you walk in the woods during hunting season, it's a good idea to wear bright colors, such as blaze orange.

#OptOutside Challenge

For our #OptOutside challenge this year, we're asking the trail community to commit to something many of you already so awesomely do! On your next adventure, pack out one piece of litter you find on the trail*—or go crazy and get all of it! Post a photo of your good deed, and tag #OptOutside, #UnitedByTrails, and @nynjtc. Encourage your trail friends to do the same.

Remember, nobody's perfect. If you encounter a litterbug, turn it into a positive, teachable moment. Maybe it was an accident. Maybe they didn't know better. Educate them about Leave No Trace principle 3: Dispose of waste properly. (Learn more here.) We all have an important part to play in protecting the outdoors when we're enjoying the outdoors. Let's lead by example!

*Please take COVID precautions when picking up trash: use gloves + wear a mask.

#TrailsGiving Match

Now through Dec. 1, we’re asking the trail community to step up and share with the world just how important great trails and a healthy ecosystem are to you.

During #TrailsGiving Week, every dollar you donate is matched by a generous donor, so your gift goes twice as far. That means your gift of $50 becomes $100!

Our goal is to raise $20,000 to ensure your trails and the lands they traverse can continue to provide solace, respite, and adventure for all who seek it. That work can’t be done without your support. With numerous funding sources reduced or cut entirely this year, we are still trying to raise the money needed to continue our work without interruption into 2021. Please help support the future of trails today!