Trail Dames Hiking Summit to Reconvene in July

CULLOWHEE, North Carolina—Trail Dames, the nation’s only hiking and backpacking conference for women, has just announced its next Summit will take place July 13-15, 2018 at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.  

The Trail Dames Summit is inclusive, welcoming anyone who identifies as a woman and has a desire to enjoy the great outdoors. Trail Dames cover the gamut from armchair dreamers and complete novices to seasoned backpackers and hiking aficionados. All are welcome.

Formed in 2011 by Anna Huthmaker, who is affectionately called “Mud Butt” on the trail, Trail Dames is for all fitness levels, sizes and persuasions. “The road to Trail Dames really started in 2003, when I attempted to hike the Appalachian Trail. I took six months off from work to hike 700 miles, breaking my foot along the way. Yet out there in the woods, I met more amazing people than ever before in my life. And all the while I could not help but notice the complete lack of women, especially women who were overweight. I was alone on a new frontier.”

Realizing there was no established forum for women hikers and backpackers to connect and learn, Anna spent the winter of 2011 visualizing women on the trails and mapped ways to develop a network. “I thought of warmer days, sunny skies and the laughter of women ringing out over the trail. And I dreamed of meeting other like-minded women from around the country in the splendor of the woods.” 

And so the Trail Dames Summit was born. Since then, the Summit has grown to a biannual event with clinicians, speakers, vendors, and awards to recognize, support and celebrate women in the outdoors.  

The 2018 Summit will offer clinics and unique classes on planning a long distance hike, first aid in the outdoors, map and compass reading, hiking overseas, slackpacking the Appalachian Trail, and creating a hiking blog. The weekend will also include sessions on yoga for hiking, walking meditation, and silent walks.

The 2018 keynote speaker is Carla Robertson, founder of Wild and White Blazing.  She is an accomplished Appalachian Trail thru-hiker and the creator of Living Wild and Precious. The event will also feature book signings, gear vendors, and a silent auction to benefit the Trail Dames Charitable Foundation.

For more information about how you can join three days of laughter, learning, and dreaming with women who share a love for the outdoors, visit

Places to Go, Things to See: