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Hiking in Atlanta with Carolyn Hartfield

by  Shantel Hanley on April 30, 2013
Hiking in Atlanta with Carolyn Hartfield

A common saying that black people do not participant in outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, camping and caving have been proven wrong by Carolyn Hartfield and Hartfield’s Hikers.

“What I have found is that there are black folks doing that stuff, but they were scattered. I would often hear that they just needed someone to organize it, says Detroit native Hartfield.  And that is exactly what she did.

She organizes the Hartfield’s Hikers and meetup groups Atlanta African-American Adventures and Older People with Active Lifestyles. Atlanta-area Blacks interested in the great outdoors could find camaraderie on the trails.

Hartfield was introduced to hiking through the Black Newcomers Network.  She wanted to take on an activity that she hadn’t done before for her 50th birthday. “Health and wellness have always been my underlying passion. Being in the great outdoors was exhilarating for me. Just being one with nature and breathing the fresh air and seeing all of God’s creation was so refreshing for me. And I love it.”

Hartfield continued to hike with the Black Newcomers Network until 2008 when she was asked to lead hikes. She drew in 30 people, three times the average turnout, for her first hike as a leader.   She eventually started her own hiking group playfully calling it Hartfield’s Hikers and the name stuck. Since starting the group, she became certified in Wilderness First Aid, a certified Outing Leader and a certified Interpretive Guide.

Hartfield’s Hikers is a group that goes on trails monthly in the north Georgia mountains. All trails are rated from easy to moderate. And people of all walks of life and physical conditions are encouraged to enjoy nature with the group. “No one has to worry about feeling rushed or getting left behind. I always say that we are as fast as our slowest person,” Hartfield says.

This year Hartfield’s Hikers are taking on a new adventure. Hartfield is taking a group to hike the Grand Canyon to celebrate her upcoming birthday. The fun won’t stop there. Hartfield has also planned a sailing and rainforest hiking trip to Belize. Slots are still available. For more information, visit  or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The mother of an adult son hasn’t always been the outdoor trailblazer she is today. Hartfield was an entrepreneur in the health and wellness industry and owned a chain of health food stores in Detroit.

Then in 2001, Hartfield moved from Detroit to Atlanta. “I lived in Detroit all my life and I was ready for a change.” A friend told her that Atlanta was where she needed to be. After checking out the city and the warm weather for herself, she made the big move and never looked back.

“I really wanted to leave Detroit and that was the perfect time for me. And it was one for the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.”

After pursing a failed entrepreneurial endeavor with a friend and working in two other avenues, Hartfield found satisfaction in the great outdoors.  It is her desire of living a fulfilling life that led her to hiking. “I never knew that I would enjoy the outdoors as I am. My motto is to live life to its fullest. And I’m enjoying every minute of it. That’s how I was introduced to hiking and the outdoors.”

People may continue to say that Blacks don’t enjoy the great outdoor but Hartfield says “Hartfield’s Hikers and Atlanta African-American Adventurers are premier groups for getting African-Americans outdoors. Between all my groups I have about 3,000 people in my database. It is definitely a misnomer that Blacks don’t get out.”

To join Hartfield on her next outdoor adventure, visit

For a little fun and a few laughs, be sure to check out “Black Hiker” starring Blair Underwood who sets out to prove that Blacks do go hiking.  Enjoy!

To watch “Black Hiker,” click here.

Shantel Hanley

Shantel Hanley

Hanley studied print journalism and Spanish at Hampton University. full bio


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