Can You Get a Hiking Trail Dedicated in Memory of Someone?

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Imagine what it would be like to go for a hike in the wilderness, listening to bird songs and enjoying the sights of countless species of animals.

Now imagine someone you know who has passed away is honored with having their name written on an important trail sign. You can make this happen!

What is a dedicated hiking trail?

A dedicated hiking trail, also known as a named hiking trail, is a trail that is designated with a signpost or marker. The sign usually includes a brief description of a person and what the memorial means to the author of the dedication.

Many dedicate trails in memory of family members who have passed away or hikers who have been killed on the trail.

The sign usually includes the person's name, what they meant to those who dedicated the trail, and why it is significant to be on this particular hiking trail.

Can you get a hiking trail dedicated in memory of someone?

Yes! The process is actually quite simple, but it does take some time.

The person you want to dedicate it in honor or memory of should be special to you and your community. It may be easiest to dedicate a trail in honor of someone still alive so that they can come along on the hike!

Write a letter to the agency that manages or will manage the trail once it is dedicated. This can be done at the national, state, or local levels.

The Department of the Interior has a good list of agencies, including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish and Wildlife Services.

In your letter, include all the necessary information to ensure that your request is taken seriously. The contact person's name, phone number, email address, and mailing address should be included in the letter.

Also, include a brief description of the person you want to dedicate it in honor or memory of and why they mean so much to you. Make sure that the letter is submitted far enough before the dedication ceremony that all parties have time to review your request, but not so early as not to be considered a possible choice.

If your request is approved, hooray! You can look into attending the dedication ceremony or just taking your friends and family on a hike to the trail.

If you actually want to attend the dedication ceremony, make sure to contact them well ahead of time so that you have time to plan for it.

Many dedications are planned months in advance so if you want to help plan the ceremony, make sure to contact them well ahead of time.

trail dedication ceremony
Trail dedication ceremony - Photo by Eli Sagor

Different ways to dedicate a hiking trail in memory of someone

There are a few ways you can go about getting a hiking trail dedicated in memory of someone.

1. Ask the local park ranger

Who better to ask about trails than an expert hiker? You can start by asking a park ranger at the nearest national or state park if there are any dedicated hiking trails in memory of someone. This is their job to know these things, but they may also be able to direct you towards other people who would know more about specific trails.

2. Contact a hiking club

If you have a hiking club nearby, they may be able to help you out with learning about trails dedicated in memory of someone. More often than not, hikers will band together to memorialize their fellow hiker's lives and work to build up the local trail system where the death occurred.

3. Check online

Many dedicated online forums exist for hiking enthusiasts, so you can check them out to see if anyone has heard of any trails dedicated in memory of someone. This may be your best bet to learn about specific trails that are dedicated to memory!

4. Ask friends and family members who hike

If there is a friend or family member that you know of who hikes, they may be more familiar with local trails dedicated to memory. This is a great way to get more information on specific trails and maybe get your dedication idea off the ground!

5. Ask the agency that manages or will manage the trail

If all else fails, you can always ask the person who manages or will manage the trail. The National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish and Wildlife Services are all agencies that manage trails, as well as many other smaller agencies dedicated to specific parks or trails.

6. Earn the approval of all involved parties

The dedication process is long and arduous, so you will want to make sure that everyone is on board with your request. Make sure that everyone involved has time to review your request before it's submitted. Then, if everyone agrees, submit it well ahead of the dedication date.

7. Attend the dedication ceremony

Congrats! You did it. If your dedication request was approved, then you're all set to attend the dedication of your special trail and be a part of history. Be sure to contact everyone involved ahead of time so that you have plenty of time to plan for the big day!

The benefits of having a dedicated hiking trail in your community

1. Families of the deceased can visit the trail and pay their respects

Though it's difficult to find closure, many families do turn to memorialize loved ones as a way of coming to terms with death. Building a hiking trail dedicated in memory of someone is a great way of allowing these families to come out and honor their loved ones and remember what they loved.

2. You can see the beauty of nature first-hand

Hiking is a great way to take in the majesty of mother nature. Being out in the open, surrounded by trees and grass, allows you to unwind and appreciate being outdoors. With so many people living in urban areas, hiking trails are a great way for city-dwellers to get in touch with nature.

3. You can learn about local history

Many trails are built on ancient Native American paths or created by early settlers heading west. Many of these trails have interesting stories behind them that you can learn more about when you visit.

4. You can get in touch with your local wildlife

You never know what you might see on a hike, and wildlife spotting is always an exciting activity. Many trails are near bodies of water or natural habitats that allow hikers to get up close and personal with nature.

5. You don't even need any experience

Hiking is for everyone! All you need is a pair of sturdy shoes and some water to make sure you stay hydrated. You can go at your own pace, stop for breaks as needed and take in the sights without worrying too much about keeping up with someone else.

6. All skill levels are welcome on trails

Hiking trails are built for hikers of all experience levels. If you're just starting out or if you've hiked your whole life, hiking trails offer great opportunities for people to explore nature and enjoy what makes our planet so special.

7. You can build bridges with other hikers

When you hike on a trail built-in memory of someone, it encourages all hikers to come together as a community. It's easy to build friendships and expand your social circle when you share similar interests in hiking.

8. Hiking trails increase property values in the area

People love living near hiking trails! The chance to explore local nature is a huge draw for people looking to move into new neighborhoods, allowing them to get in touch with their environment and enjoy all the benefits that come with it.

9. Trails provide a sense of community for those in the area

When you live near a hiking trail, you're automatically involved in its upkeep. This gives everyone who uses the trails a sense of ownership and responsibility toward its success. When people feel like they have skin in the game, they're more likely to get involved and help make the trail a success.


Building a hiking trail dedicated to the memory of someone is the perfect way to celebrate the life of that person and recognize their contribution to your community.

There are so many benefits that come with trails, from building relationships to getting exercise to learning about local history or just enjoying peace and quiet in nature.

It's easier than you might think to get a trail built in your community, and you'll be able to create memories for yourself and the people around you.

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