“Hiking for Health” is the subject of one my talks and a cause I’ve long promoted. A tip of the hiker’s cap to hospitals that sponsor hikes and tout the health benefits of hitting the trail.

Pardee Memorial Hospital in Hendersonville, North Carolina sponsors Hike to Health events that take participants on hikes of varying distances in the local mountains. The hospital gives out Hike to Health T-shirts and refreshments.

When I first heard of the hospital’s most recent outing to Pink Beds, I thought there was some kind of connection to hospital beds but no, the Pink Beds are named for a profusion of pink wildflowers, including mountain laurel and rhododendron that thrive in the Pink Beds Valley.

In Northern California, Kaiser Permanente supports a Hike & Thrive program for Save Mount Diablo, an advocacy and support group for the region around Mount Diablo State Park. Kaiser financially supports the group’s hike schedule and increased web presence.

Healthcare workers at Kaiser’s Antioch Medical Center seem to be big supporters of the program and enjoy guided and self-guided hikes up and down Mount Diablo, one of the Bay Area’s most prominent landmarks.

A few scattered hospitals sponsoring hikes can’t be called a trend yet, but I’m optimistic that some of the more visionary and forward-looking healthcare companies will embrace programs that promote hiking for health.