How to Enjoy a Volksmarch Walking Event

How to Enjoy a Volksmarch Walking Event

Volkssport Walk Sign
Volkssport Walk Sign. Wendy Bumgardner ©

A volksmarch is a walking event hosted by a local club, put on by walkers for the public to come and enjoy. Everyone is welcome and the events are either free or have a very small fee.

The American Volkssport Association (AVA) and Canadian Volkssport Federation (CVF) are the largest organizations of walking clubs in America. Their 600 clubs host non-competitive walks which are open to the public.

Find a local event by using our Walking Calendar Page with links to the US, Canada, Britain, Germany and other major volkssport countries.

US Event Search at For hosted volksmarch walks, select "Traditional Events Only," If you want to walk a map-guided walk rather than a hosted event, select "YRE/Seasonal Events." will show you a list of events and details for each one when you select it, including contact email and phone numbers for the event organizers and the host club web site.

If none are listed, find the nearest club from the AVA club page and give them a call or email to see what is coming up.

Call or email the local club contact for information about the event

  • How easy or difficult
  • Directions to the start
  • Hours of operation
  • Pet restrictions
  • Wheelchair or stroller accessibility

Gear: Wear comfortable walking shoes you have already broken in. Dress for the weather. Layers are always a good idea - you will probably warm up once on the trail, but may want a jacket or umbrella.

Next: How to Register for a Volksmarch Walk

Registering for a Volksmarch Walk

Volksmarch Registration and Start Point
Volksmarch Registration and Start Point. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Find the Registration/Start Point for the volksmarch walk during its hours of operation. This may be in a park, a school, a community center, etc. Often it is a small set-up with a few tables and some signage.

Pre-Registration: You can usually register at the start point for the event. For rare events, you must pre-register - be sure to ask the club when you call them ahead of time. Most events that have an award allow you to pre-register by mail to ensure you get your award at the event.

Registration: At the start point, find the registration table, fill out a start card and pay the appropriate fee.

  • Many events allow you to walk for free.
  • Some have a small entry fee for all walkers.
  • Event awards may be available - a patch, medal, pin or other item to reward you for participation. These are are available for a small fee.

New Walkers Packets: These are available at most events for new walkers to jump right into the AVA program. For only $5, the new walker gets:

  • The first set of IVV Record Books
  • Coupons for getting IVV credit for three events at no charge (usual credit charge is $3 per event).
  • Coupon to receive a free issue of The American Wanderer
  • Explanations about the volkssporting program.

You can order a New Walker Packet if you just can't wait.

Select a Trail and Distance: The standard volkssport trail length is 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), and you are allowed to complete it twice on the same start card (20 kilometers or 13 miles).

A shorter distance may be offered for those who need it. Many events have a 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) distance.

Many events have more than one trail available, so be sure to ask about length and difficulty and choose the trail(s) that you will enjoy the most. Also ask about restroom availability, water and checkpoints before beginning.

Trail Ratings: Trails are rated for difficulty 1-5 from easiest to most difficult and A to D for the surface, from pavement to natural trail and to rocky and rooted paths. Volksmarch walks are held in every kind of terrain, from cities and towns to parks, countryside and forest.

Starting on a Volksmarch Walk

Trail Intersection to Triple Falls - Columbia River Gorge
Trail Intersection to Triple Falls - Columbia River Gorge. Wendy Bumgardner © 2010

Get on the trail: The club may provide a map and directions, and/or have marked the trail with ribbons, arrows, or chalk. Be sure to ask what markings to look for. Some walks have groups scheduled to go out together if you would like to walk with others. Ask about that before you start.

Walk at your own pace: Go as fast or as slow as you want. Run or powerwalk if you want to go aerobic. Stroll if you wish. Stop to picnic, shop, or sightsee if you want. Just be sure you can complete the trail by the official finish time.

How long does it take to complete a 10 kilometer trail? At a very easy pace, it takes most people 2 hours. If you are a power walker, you will finish in an hour and a half or less. More difficult trails take longer.

Checkpoints: There should be one or more checkpoints along the trail. Usually these are staffed by friendly club members. Take the time to have some water, maybe a little treat, and chat with them. Present your start card to be stamped.

Water: You should ask about the availability of water fountains along the trail before starting. It is a good idea to bring your own (filled) water bottle along to ensure you won't go thirsty along the trail.

Snacks: Checkpoints will often have hard candies or pretzels. Some start points also sell food. Bring snacks if you think you will get hungry. If you have any health problems, consult with your physician to determine how you should prepare for a two-hour walk.

Restrooms: You should ask about the availability of restrooms along the trail before starting.

Finishing a Volksmarch Walk

Volksmarch Start/Finish Point with IVV Flag
Volksmarch Start/Finish with IVV Flag. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Finish: Turn in your start card at the finish table, even if you are just walking for free.

Collect your award: Now you get your medal, patch, or other award if you registered for it at the start. If you didn't and now you want one, just ask for an upgrade and pay the fee.

IVV Record Books Stamping: This is where you will get your IVV Record Books stamped if you registered for the award or for credit.

If you bought a New Walkers Packet, open it and take out the IVV Record Books and present them for stamping. Be sure to bring your IVV Record Books to each event. If you forgot, ask about getting an Insert Card stamped.

Info on Upcoming Events: You will be able to pick up brochures on upcoming events on the Information Table.

Relax and meet new friends: We welcome new walkers and hope you take the time to visit with the club members and other walkers at the finish. Ask about how to join the local club.

Continue Reading