Ramble On: How Hiking Became One of the Most Popular Outdoor Activities in the World

How did hiking evolve from the upper-class European sport of alpinism and the publication of an English travel guide into an activity that now has millions of participants all over the world? How did western cultures overcome their intense fear of mountains, and why were the social stigmas associated with walking rejected? What roles did the Industrial Revolution play in the development of hiking as a major pastime?


Ramble On: How Hiking Became One of the Most Popular Outdoor Activities in the World answers these and many other key questions. It chronicles hiking’s roots in alpinism and mountaineering, the societal trends that fostered its growth, some of the early hikers from the 18th and 19th centuries, the first trails built specifically for hiking, the formation of the first hiking clubs, as well as what the early hikers wore, and what some of the key inventions and innovations were that led to our modern array of gear and apparel.


The book also includes anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Great Smoky Mountains, Mt. Rainier, Glacier, and Acadia National Park, as well as the first trails to be blazed in the White Mountains of New Hampshire - America’s first hiking destination. It also takes a look at some of the peculiar traditions of some of the early hiking clubs, including the Appalachian Mountain Club.


In this book, you’ll also learn about:
* How the Age of Enlightenment and the Romantic Era influenced art, literature, religion, and thought, which allowed hiking to bloom and eventually flourish.
* The crucial role the Crawford’s of New Hampshire played in the development of hiking, including the construction of two paths to the summit of Mt. Washington that were likely the first recreational trails in the world.
* The first hiking clubs, why they organized, and the key role they played in the making hiking a popular pastime.
* How the Alpine Club of Williamstown’s inclusion of women set a precedent for admitting females in subsequent American clubs, a policy not shared by many of the first European clubs.
* The key innovations in gear and apparel, such as Vibram, Gore-Tex, fleece, polypropylene underwear, and backpacks.
* The apparel women were forced to wear during the Victorian era and the danger those fashion standards posed to women who dared to venture into the mountains.

This second edition builds upon the first edition of this book (Ramble On: A History of Hiking) to reflect additional research and to expand more broadly on a few topics.


The book is now available on Amazon:



About the Author: 

Jeff Doran grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and now resides in East Tennessee. A graduate of Xavier University, Jeff worked in marketing for several years before starting his own online hiking trail guide business. After decades of hiking in America's national parks, he founded HikinginGlacier.com, RockyMountainHikingTrails.com, and TetonHikingTrails.com, which provide detailed trail information. In addition to being an avid hiker and a history buff, Jeff is also an avid cyclist.