The CLEVELAND HIKING CLUB was organized on 20 April 1919 to promote and encourage hiking for the purposes of health, pleasure, and recreation. The idea for the club originated in March 1919 when Ethel Hampton McCarty persuaded columnist Edna K. Wooley to generate interest in a walking club through Wooley's column in the CLEVELAND NEWS. As a result, 200 walking enthusiasts attended the first meeting, which ended with a hike along Riverside Dr. overlooking the Rocky River Valley. By April 1919 51 charter members adopted a constitution, elected officers, and set up committees. In May 1919 the directors of the Cleveland Hiking Club voted to join the American Walkers Assn., and on 6 May 1921 the club was officially incorporated under the State of Ohio as the Cleveland Hiking Club. Good character, love of the outdoors, a minimum age of 16, and a $2 membership fee were the only criteria for membership.

When the club celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1994, it had a membership of approx. 650, making it one of the largest and most active hiking clubs in the country. The club sponsors daily hikes throughout the CLEVELAND METROPARKS, the CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, the FLATS, city and suburban neighborhoods, and shopping malls. The club's premier, high endurance events are the annual 26- and 40-mile hikes, which date back to the 1920s. The Cleveland Hiking Club is open to anyone who completes 6 club-sponsored hikes each year. Information and activity schedules are available in the Club's bi-monthly newsletter, NewSteps, as well as on its website:

Cleveland Hiking Club Records, WRHS.

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