According to the good folks at, Take A Hike Day (November 17) is either about going for an exhilarating walk, or telling somebody to get lost.

"Take a hike!" on Take a Hike Day or whenever you can.
“Take a hike!” on Take a Hike Day or whenever you can.

Naturally, The Trailmaster prefers you hit the trail rather than tell someone to get lost. Hiking is by far the most popular form of outdoor recreation in the U.S., so I’m confident that many will take a hike in the way I do and say.

When I meet people unaware of my unusual occupation, they invariably ask: “So John, what do you do?”

“I tell people to ‘Take a hike!’”

“Seriously, what’s your real job?”

If I had a pound of trail mix for every time I’ve been asked that question, I’d have a ton of trail snacks.

Colorful "Take a Hike" poster designed by Danielle Magee from the happy hikers at
Colorful “Take a Hike” poster designed by Danielle Magee from the happy hikers at

The fact is, hiking and writing about hiking is my job—and has been for a long time. I served as the Los Angeles Times hiking columnist for 17 years and have written 30 books about hiking and nature. I’ve hiked from youth through middle-age, and plan to continue hiking and telling anyone who will listen to “Take a hike!” until I’m carried off the trail.

In my hiker’s dictionary, “Hiking from A to Z,” we define the phrase thus:
Take a hike Literally “Leave!” Recent use is less negative and imperative and can even be encouraging

After celebrating Take a Hike Day on November 17th, in the days that follow you could celebrate Occult Day on the 18th, World Toilet Day on the 19th or Africa Industrialization Day on the 20th.

But I say, “Take a Hike!” every day instead. Or at least take a hike as often as possible. Or whenever and wherever you can.

Enjoy the greenery, the scenery and the wonderful world around you. Reconnect with nature. Tell your friends and family to “Take a hike!”

As for those kids always on the computer, meddlesome in-laws and annoying co-workers, well, you know what to tell them.