Trail Dames Summit: An Exploration of Self and the Outdoors

Whether you are a beginner hiker looking for tips on getting started or an experienced trail blazer with more than 5,000 miles under your belt, the Trail Dames Summit is for you. 

An accepting and nonjudgmental organization, the Trail Dames welcome women of all abilities to grow individually and together at their hiking and backpacking conference this summer, taking place in Cullowhee, N.C. on June 26-28.

Anna “Mud Butt” Huthmaker started Trail Dames in 2011 after her own experience hiking the Appalachian Trail. Seeing the community of hikers on the trail, she started planning a conference that would bring together women from across the country to share in a love for the outdoors.

“I thought of warmer days, sunny skies, and the laughter of women ringing out over the trail,” Huthmaker said.

This year’s conference will feature speakers, clinics, hikes, and more. Listen to the experiences of women who hiked El Camino de Santiago in Spain, the Himalayas in Bhutan, and the 4,000-foot White Mountains in New Hampshire. Learn how to prepare for an overnight trip, how to tie useful knots, and how to take care of yourself out on the trail. Get outside and moving with other trail lovers in the mountains of Western North Carolina. 

“Little Bear,” a 2018 summit attendee, walked away from the experience with a renewed energy for hiking. 

“Even though I didn’t know anyone and it was a scary because I didn’t know what it was all about, you all were very welcoming,” she said. “I changed my view about my hiking and hike my own hike mentality.  So today I wore my Trail Dames summit shirt as I completed 500 miles walking/hiking this year! Even though most of you are a continent away from Southern California, I hike with you in mind.”

Another attendee said she went home with some trail yoga moves, an eye towards mindfulness, and a new foot balm recipe. 

“I promise it is so much fun, and I learned a lot even though I’ve hiked my whole life,” she said.

Registration for the summit includes lodging for Friday and Saturday night, five meals, and all of the scheduled activities. Located between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll be staying in the dorms at Western Carolina University less than a mile from the Tuckasegee River.

Don’t forget to bring the gear you no longer use to participate in the gear swap. It’s a great way to find your gently used gear a new home. Take home something during the silent auction or from the author and vendor area. 

Spend your weekend amongst a supportive group of women at the 2020 Summit: A Woman’s Exploration of Self and the Outdoors. 

Who: Anyone who identifies as a woman and enjoys getting outside

When: June 26-28

Where: Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.

Why: Get inspired for your next trip on the trail with informative sessions and a great atmosphere!

For more information about the Trail Dames and the 2020 conference, visit Stay tuned for more information on the keynote speaker and clinics coming soon. 

Places to Go, Things to See: