Every year on the first day of summer we officially celebrate the summer solstice with an unoffical holiday of Hike Naked Day. While this can be fun, adventurous, exhilirating, uplifting, and any number feelings, one must be careful to not be arrested if using public lands. Where I’m from it was sometimes dubbed Hike Naked on the Appalachian Trail Day. During this time of the year, thru-hikers were often more prevalent as they are making their way from Georgia to Maine during the warmer months of the year. While nudity isn’t addressed for federal lands in the laws, and much of the land the AT traverses in Northern Geogia, Eastern Tennesee, Western North Carolina, and Central Virginia is under the jursidiction of the National Park Service, attempting to be naked on the AT could sometimes be problematic at best. Although these lands are federal, the state and local laws could bring you a bit of trouble with citations if you’re not careful.
Over the past several years, the Hike Naked on the AT has become more well known with local law enforcement and game wardens. The most popular trail heads and populated areas have been seeing more oversight to help control all the “crazy” naked people “exposing” themselves to unsuspecting bystander’s. Not everyone is aware of this unoffical holiday, and with it being so close to Father’s Day each year, there are growing fears naked hikers may wonder upon a family outing. From their perspective I can completely understand why they feel the need to police the area. It may be our choice to be naked, but we should not force our way of life onto others when they clearly don’t want it. At the very least they want to avoid awkward questions from their children.
Tips for Safety
I by no means claim to be an expert hiker or lawyer, but I have put together a few tips that I see as beneficial when adventuring on this endeavor. If you have acres of private land, then you’re pretty much in the clear. You can do whatever you want on private lands.
Google your state and local laws
This is probably your most important tip. Ignorance is no excuse if you’re caught breaking the law!! If you’ve ever been pulled over for speeding, and you didn’t know the speed limit, then chances are you still go a ticket. The laws are online. Find them.
Generally avoid state parks
The only exception to this is if you know without a doubt that nudity is allowed for certain areas. Most states have more specific laws on public nudity. Some may allow it with the caveat being you don’t cause distress to someone. That’s a bit too subjective and ambiguous for me, so I’d rather play it safe
Move off the main trail
This is a very good option if it’s safe to do so. The mountains can sometimes make this problematic if you’re on steep side, and the last thing anyone wants is to find a naked body rolling down the moutain. Quite embarrassing and dangeous on many fronts.
Have something to cover up with
This is probably the most important tip and can keep you out of trouble. Personally, I have a long T-shirt in hand when doing this. It’s much easier to throw over me than trying to wrestle with bottoms, dirty shoes, and then a top. I’m extremely clumsy. Men can probably get away with a pair of shorts, but I would make sure they don’t have the little netting inside that could give you trouble in a hurry.
Limit your time
The longer you are naked on public land, the higher the chance you have at getting in trouble. I want to enjoy the benefits and freedoms as much as you, but we don’t want to get the risk above the reward. At that point it becomes detromental to the cause.
This is a great opportunity to explore lands you have never seen before, and getting out can be a breath of fresh air from the life we’ve been living couped up with no outlet.
It’s the beginning of summer and the sun and bugs are coming out in full force. IF you’re fair skinned like me after being in for so long, then you may be proned to burning. Also, no one wants to come home with little red bumps all over your beautiful bodies. Here is a link to what I use.
No matter where you live there should be within driving distance that will allow you the opportunity to hike naked. The best option is if you either have or know someone with private land that you can venture out on, but if not, take this time over the next three weeks to dig a little bit and find your place, map it out, and gather your supplies. It’s going to be a blast!
Side note…June 21st happens to fall on Fathers Day this year, so we may have to make some adjustments to our day to celebrate. If you have family commitments on that day, then maybe do Saturday, or just get up really early for Sunday morning stroll like I used to. 🙂
Images here were either follower submitted or searched from the public domain.