Last Tuesday was the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and though you may not have realized it, it’s also a day when some hiking enthusiasts enjoy nude hiking — that’s right, Naked Hiking Day (or #HikeNakedDay, if you’re on Instagram).
While it’s an unofficial holiday, you can find several web pages dedicated to it, and the larger trend is known as “free” or “bare hiking.”
Is nude hiking legal?
Lots of people do it even though it’s legally risky, depending on where you go.
While there are no federal laws banning nudity in national parks, national and state parks are both subject to local and county laws which may outlaw public nudity. Most nude hiking websites suggest calling ahead to the park you’re interested in visiting and asking the rangers (though we imagine most rangers may err on the side of modesty).
You can also try and find a local nude hiking or naturist group to help you navigate the legality.
How can I avoid offending non-nude hikers?
Nude hiking is most viable on less popular hiking trails during weekdays, when most people are working and you’re less likely to confront others.
You can also do what these resourceful gents in the video below did and wear a strategically placed bandana over your genitals to quell any potential uproar from passersby.
Another site suggests carrying loose shorts that you can easily slip into or out of whenever any other hikers pass, but we imagine that might get inconvenient depending on the path. A small towel to cover your bits could work even better.
How else can I prepare for a naked hike?
It helps to choose a hike that isn’t dangerous (if you fall, you don’t want to injure your privates). Make sure to wear bug spray and suntan lotion, rub petroleum jelly on your inner thighs to prevent chafing, bring a towel for covering up or sitting down and make sure to check for rocks before jumping into a body of water.
Also, remember: Nudism is generally geared towards the enjoyment of being naked rather than sexual gratification (although there’s a long and ongoing debate about that). So it’s best to keep any sexual activity discreet. It also pays to be friendly and non-threatening if you encounter any clothed hikers — you don’t want them reporting “that naked weirdo” to the local ranger.