You don't have to live in a National Park to run a profitable hiking or walking business. Yes, scenic
locations are attractive, but there are other benefits that walking or hiking provide, such as exercise, weight
loss, social activity, animal watching or simply getting an escape from the daily routine.
With hiking, you can offer day trips to multi-week hiking vacations. There are also different customer
groups you can focus on - from beginner to advanced hikers. Some people may only want to hike occasionally,
while others would be happy joining a regular hiking group that meets weekly or even several times a week.
You also don't have to limit your hiking business to just one area. If you want to explore new locations,
host walking or hiking tours in a variety of different areas, possibly packaging the activities as vacations
with travel and accommodations included.
Obviously, the person who would enjoy running a hiking or walking business likes being around people,
spending time outdoors and exercises regularly. Flexibility, pateience and a sense of humor can also be
Start by looking at the competition in the area that you want to offer hiking or walking trips. Ideally, you
want to fill a niche that has not yet been met. If there is a significant amount of competition nearby, how can
your service be different - or can you target a specific group like senior citizens, families with young
children or people who want to lose weight?
How you advertise your business will depend on if you are targeting local customers or those who are
traveling from somewhere else. Begin by printing brochures and
hiking schedules. Leave some at your city's visitor center, chamber of commerce or parks and rec department.
Local libraries, coffee shops, colleges and community centers can also be great spots to find new clients, if
you are able to leave some brochures on site.
One of the best things you can do prior to starting your
walking business is to get advice from an expert in the field. This can literally save you months of time and
usally hundreds if not thousands of dollars in mistakes and wasted effort.
If you are interested in starting a tour-type walking business, Marc Mancini has put together a start-up
guide for people who want to run tour businesses called Conducting Tours. For nature hiking or
ecotour related businesses, check out Jennie Bev's Natural Tour Guide.
Print Brochures Showing Your Services and Expertise
Don't just tell people about your hiking or walking tours - show them! Pictures are worth a thousand words, and
brochures can present a professional company image - while selling your services to potential clients at the
You want to use quality materials and photos if you can, but company brochures don't have to be expensive.
You can use programs online to design your own brochures, and
have them automatically printed for you at a discounted price.
Advertise Your Walking Tour
If you offer tours to travelers, you can get access to millions of interested customers online with a travel
directory like RealAdventures. Find customers who have money to spend and want help planning a vacation. It
can't get much easier than this. Start here >> Get
Hiking & Walking Tour Business Associations
American Hiking Society
American Hiking Society works toward ensuring that hiking trails and natural places are cherished and preserved
for us and for future generations as well.