Walking Festivals in the USA and Canada 2017 - 2019

Walk your socks off at these great walking festivals. These multi-event walking festivals are non-competitive and open to everyone. Enjoy volkssport walking events designed for walkers, by walkers. These walking festivals may also have social events such as meet-and-greet evenings and dinners. Some have guided group walks and workshops. Others allow you to enjoy the walks at your own pace and meet other walkers. 

Don't Look at the Sun - Grand Island, Nebraska

View from Dark Island Trail Bridge, Nebraska
View from Dark Island Trail Bridge, Nebraska. Jim McGahan

August 18-21, 2017. American sky watchers will witness the first total solar eclipse visible from the continent in nearly 40 years on August 21.  The main event is an experience not to be missed and will have one of the longest periods of total eclipse and the best chance of clear skies in Grand Island, Nebraska. The Nebraska Wanderfreunde Trailblazers is hosting five walks. The first walk is on the prairie to enjoy the bright summer sky at the Crane Trust Nature Center.  A swim event will help you cool off.  There will be a walk in Aurora where you won't see the Northern Lights, but will have the chance to visit the Edgerton Explorit Center, an award winning science center where you will be able to learn more about our relationship to the stars and the solar eclipse. The evening walk on the Dark Island Trail will take you to the boyhood home of Wright Morris, a noted author and photographer. On this walk, you should reach the Dark Island Trail bridge just in time to view the sunset over the Platte River. The main event will be held during the eclipse. You'll be provided protective glasses so you can actually look at the sun during the eclipse. The trail will take you into the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, an amazing open air museum with lots of examples of Pioneer Life.  There will be a hot dog lunch after the walk. In addition to the AVA events, there will be a Meet & Greet on Friday evening, a star party on the prairie with telescopes provided to observe the planets and an unbelievable view of the night sky without light pollution.  An afternoon wine tasting event at Moonlight Ridge Winery rounds out this weekend of sky events.


Guadalupe National Park, Texas
Guadalupe National Park, Texas. Richard Stockton/Getty Images

Guadalupe National Park, Texas,  October 6-8, 2017.  Climb the highest mountain peaks in Texas or enjoy easier hikes through the canyons of the Guadalupe National Park.  The West Texas Trail Walkers will be sponsoring three AVA sanctioned walks in the area over the Columbus Day weekend.  Also available are three year round walks.  Saturday night features a dinner in Carlsbad, New Mexico. 



Jogger Passes Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument, DC
Jogger Passes Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument, DC. Sam Antonio Photography/Moment/Getty Images

October 13-15, 2017. This yearly walking festival is sanctioned by the IML Walking Association as well as the AVA/IVV. Walkers enjoy the monuments and sights of Washington, DC as well as trails in Arlington, Virginia. They have 10 walking routes with distances from 3 miles (5 kilometers) to 27 miles (44 kilometers). All walks begin and end at the Rosslyn Holiday Inn at Key Bridge, 1900 N. Fort Myer Drive. The hotel is three blocks from the Rosslyn Metro Station. Each day features different trails and trail lengths. Organizers designed the trails to include scenic highlights such as Roosevelt Island, the C&O Canal, the Capitol Crescent trail, and Glover-Archbold Park. While primarily a walking event, participants will also have the opportunity for a bike on the Arlington Loop & swim event at the hotel pool. Walkers have a window of several hours to start their events. The schedule begins with a 5- or 10-kilometer Welcome Walk on Friday. On Saturday walkers have the choice of 6-, 12-, 21-, or 44-kilometer walks. On Sunday, there are 6-, 12-, 21-, and 32-kilometer walks. There is a social on Friday evening and an International Dinner at the Vantage Point Restaurant, Holiday Inn on Saturday night.



Fountain in Tampa, Florida
Fountain in Tampa, Florida. Mike Lanpher

Walk Around Florida is held each year the last weekend in October or the beginning of November.



Gettysburg. Tom Jackson

November 10-12, 2017. This is the sixth biennial Haunted Gettysburg Weekend sponsored by the York White Rose Wanderers. There will be four walks and a swim event.  One walk will feature the women of Gettysburg. For four days, Gettysburg was occupied by Confederate forces and in addition to caring for their families, the women hid Union soldiers, fed the soldiers, cared for the wounded, and buried the dead.  Come learn their story. Another walk will visit places associated with World War I. Gettysburg’s Camp Colt was where the first American Soldiers trained to use tanks. The third walk will visit the haunted places around the southern part of town and on parts of the battlefield.  Gettysburg is the most haunted town in the United States. Adams County Winery will be the site of the fourth walk. The Days Inn Gettysburg will be the host hotel, with discounted rooms available. There is a dinner on Saturday night at General Pickett’s Buffet.



Hershey's Chocolate World
Hershey's Chocolate World. Gary Burke/Moment/Getty Images

Thanksgiving Weekend. This walkfest is held in the sweetest town in the USA, Hershey, Pennsylvania, on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Walks explore Candylane and the town of Hershey, all with wafts of chocolate aroma in the air.



Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. BDphoto/Getty Images

December. This yearly event includes a night walk and a day walk each day, plus a swim. It's a great way to celebrate the holiday season with caroling and torchlight.



San Antonio Riverwalk
San Antonio Riverwalk. Getty Images / Photodisc

February 23-25, 2018. This new annual event welcomes you to the heart of Texas on President's Day Weekend in February. San Antonio is known for being a festive city, and February is no exception. In this special time of year, the annual Stock Show and Rodeo brings thousands of cowboys and cowgirls to demonstrate their skills. The walks will feature the famous San Antonio River Walk, the historic Alamo, the World Heritage Site Missions, the Japanese Tea Garden, Breckenridge Park, Trinity University, the historic neighborhoods of the Monte Vista and King William Districts, El Mercado and more.  On Saturday night you can enjoy a delicious Mexican dinner at Pico de Gallo. Visit the website to register.



California Golden Poppy
California Golden Poppy. GomezDavid

This yearly walking festival is held the first weekend of May in a different California location each year. They have a Meet and Greet reception on Friday, and lunch and dinner on Saturday.



Rogue River
Rogue River. Erik Isakson / Getty Images

May 2019. The fourth biennial event in southern Oregon explores beautiful trails in the Lost Creek Lake area. Six walking routes include easy and challenging walks. The walking festival is headquartered at the Edgewater Inn in Shady Cove, Oregon. There's a Meet and Greet on Friday, a barbecue dinner on Saturday, and a no-host dinner on Sunday.



Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Avatarmin/Getty Images

April 2019. The volkssport clubs of South Vancouver Island invite walking enthusiasts to the Victoria Volkssport Phoenix Festival, held in gorgeous Victoria, British Columbia in April in odd-numbered years. The weekend features walks for everyone, from easy 5K walks through challenging half-marathon and marathon distances. They host the event just north of Victoria. Walks feature ocean views, Elk and Beaver Lake and Saanich Trails.



The biennial AVA national convention will be June 2019 in Albany, New York. Besides lots of walks, there are socials, a banquet, workshops, and lots of camaraderie.