Why I Started Rhode Island Hiking Collective (& Who it’s for)

After offering my first group hike in August the most common question was – When’s the next one?

Ummm… there wasn’t one. Yet.

So while I had a hunch folks in Rhode Island might be interested in hiking due to the first few group hikes filling to capacity in under an hour, little did I know that 1,300 people would join the hiking group when it launched in the first 3 months.

Turns out: People in Rhode Island want to hike.

And they want to hike with others who want to hike, too.

The Rhode Island Hiking Collective was a response to an organic chain of interactions and feedback from people around me.

And I’ll be honest. I hesitated to start a group like this, or even create Rhode Island hiking content because – Who wants to hike in Rhode Island?

There are no mountains.

None of the terrain is all that “challenging”.

And “wilderness” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when you think of the Rhode Island landscape.


We have incredible coastal trails that are singularly unique to our state.

There’s an abundance of local & migrating wildlife.

You can find endless pastoral landscapes rich in history.

There was a time when I enjoyed some Rhode Island hiking, sure, but really waited to “get to the mountains” in order to really enjoy hiking.

But then I thought – What if I was grateful for the incredible outdoor spaces and trails, now, that we do have?

Rather than feeling like what we have is less than compared to other, more wild types of nature, what if I could recognize that all nature is healing, inspiring, and integral to us as human beings?

This mindful shift in perspective was a choice. And one I’m so glad I made.

I found that hiking trails in Rhode Island made me feel grounded and brought me joy.

So in hindsight I’m not so surprised that others were intrinsically eager for this type of local nature – and community – connection, either.

Who is Rhode Island Hiking Collective for?

This free Rhode Island hiking group is for everyone:

People who want to make new friends while doing something positive for their mental and physical wellbeing, parents who want to take their kids on hikes, people who like to hike with dogs, go backpacking, even mountain bike & trail run.

On any given group hike or meetup, the ages seem to range from 22 to 72.

I’ve always found that the common bond of simply being on the trail is enough to bring people close, quickly, and in a meaningful way.

There’s something about being in movement while connecting with and getting to know new people that just feels a lot less intimidating.

(And, of course, you can always hike with the group, but take some quiet time for yourself. We support stillness and mindfulness, too).

How does Rhode Island Hiking Collective work?

The intention of this hiking group is truly to be a peer-to-peer community.

I never wanted to be the only one to delegate when people could meet up and hike, or where.

Everyone in the community is welcome to offer a meetup at a trail they love, ask if someone wants to join them at a new spot, or share intel and expertise that might help others.

While I personally organize and offer group hikes and meetups (some of which are open to all, others might have a registration cap due to logsitics) it’s highly encouraged for members to offer their own when they feel inspired to.

We’ve done group hikes ranging from supporting non-profit partners like the Potter League with our Adopt-a-Dog Hike where we brought shelter dogs on the trail (with one of them getting adopted on the spot!) and the MLK Center with a canned good donation hike around the holidays (collecting 109 items between 14 people!)…

To brand partnered hikes like the August group hike where everyone received the most amazing gear from two of my favorite brands, Gregory Mountain Products and Kinfield.

And the majority are just a few people getting together to get outside.

How do you join Rhode Island Hiking Collective?

We use the free Geneva app as our hub of communication and connection.

Whether you live in Rhode Island or are planning to visit. All are welcome.

If you haven’t already joined – What are you waiting for?

🥾 Join Rhode Island Hiking Collective here 🥾

➡️ Do you have questions? Ask in the comments below!

Follow me on Instagram at @meredithewenson for the best hikes in Rhode Island and inspiration to get you outdoors.

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Why I Started Rhode Island Hiking Collective (& Who it’s for)