Whether you’re on the North Shore or the Cape, or even further north in New England, there are tons of great communities for finding hiking trips and other outdoor adventures in Boston and across New England.
While the groups listed here are mostly “based” in the Boston area, most overnight trips tend to head north into Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine where the more remote, challenging terrain lives.
1. MIT Outing Club
While there are lots of colleges and universities in the Boston area, MIT has the largest and most inclusive Outing Club that I could find. You don’t need to have any affiliation with MIT to join.
They offer lots of student-run classes in everything from rope rescue to avalanche training to ultralight backpacking to their famous Winter School. They also own two cabins up in New Hampshire that are available to members.
One of my favorite perks is the various email distribution lists they offer, which make it easy to connect with other like-minded adventurers and plan trips.
2. AMC Activities
The AMC Activities website has a ton of mountain biking and overnight backpacking trips planned almost every weekend – plus many trips during the week as well. Make sure you check the site regularly since popular trips can fill up quick!
3. AMC Young Members Events Calendar
The AMC Young Members Events Calendar is more focused on helping people in their 20s and 30s get outdoors more and connect with each other. Their website lists some longer overnight trips, and includes distance and difficulty information.
Trips usually require a signup and can also fill up fast, but the popular ones tend to get scheduled several times so you’ll have a shot to do it later even if it’s full now.
A few times a year, there will be some really big trips like retreats to private campgrounds.
4. AMC Young Members Spontaneous Outings and Socials
These “trips” tend to be much shorter, like afternoon workshops or get-togethers. They also tend to be more service or social focused, with volunteering opportunities and game nights mixed in with shorter day hikes or trail runs followed by a trip to a local bar.
5. REI Boston Courses
While REI does charge for some of its longer courses, there are still lots of free, in-store classes on everything from hiking and backpacking basics to gear maintenance and hobbies like photography, yoga or standup paddleboard.
A few years ago, I took a (paid) Wilderness First Aid course in their Reading, MA store and it was a lot of fun. They brought in NOLS Wilderness Medical Institute instructors to teach about a dozen of us some basic first aid over the course of 2 days.
6. "Hikers & Backpackers" Slack Group
The “Hikers and Backpackers” Slack group is a small but growing community of hundreds of adventurers chatting about gear, sharing trip reports and planning for their next hiking trip.
Communities are organized by region, making it much easier to find someone in your neck of the woods. I was chatting with another New Englander who just got back from his first trip in the White Mountains just this afternoon.
7. Various Meetup.com Groups
Meetup.com has all sorts of niche outdoor-focused groups for the Boston area.
From “Women Only” to “middle age (30-55)”” to “Couples Only” to Afro or Jewish or Gay Men, there are all sorts of small groups you can find to get outdoors with people you might have more in common with than the average person.
8. "Hike the 4000 Footers of NH" Facebook Group
While the name implies that it’s just about hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the group tends to be more about offering support, celebrating accomplishments and sharing news and beta for hikers across New England.
I used it to learn about weather reports and trail icing conditions before a trip several months ago. It’s very well moderated and can be a great way to network and find like-minded adventure buddies.
9. "Boston" Subreddit
The Boston subreddit usually has a few threads that pop up in the spring and fall asking about hikes in the area. A quick search for “hiking” or “hikes” in the sidebar will show you if there’s anything recent you can tag along on.
10. "White Mountains National Forest" Subreddit
While it’s not the most active subreddit with less than 1,000 members, all of the threads are devoted to people talking about or planning trips into the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Find a recent discussion that sounds like an interesting hike and it could be a great opportunity to shoot the original poster a message to link up with them on the trail.
Looking for more ideas for finding a hiking group? Check out my recommendations for how to find hiking partners anywhere.