Fall is a Glorious Time for Hiking

Ladona Tornabene, coauthor of Gentle Hikes of Minnesota’s North Shore, talks about the importance of hiking this Fall and addresses concerns about falling when hiking.

Fall is an absolutely glorious time for hiking. However, for some people, concern over a different type of fall emerges. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than one in four adults ages 65+ falls each year. Yet apprehension regarding falling while hiking can be applicable to anyone, under certain trail conditions.


Our concern for all people’s physical wellbeing was a significant factor in Gentle Hikes’ inception. As outdoors enthusiasts, our aim was to empower people of all abilities to enjoy the  health benefits of nature. Especially important to us were populations to whom hiking has presented challenges.

For example, a friend of ours was visiting Minnesota’s North Shore, but she was apprehensive about hiking. Her reservations were rooted in perceived barriers (e.g. concern of the unknown) she held about hiking along the North Shore. She had a bad knee; while she could handle stairs with railings, she could not manage stairs without them. But she did not know how to find such details prior to actually getting on a trail.

This influenced our writing of the book and encouraged us to showcase trail details that could empower others to “know before they go.” When readers know what to expect, they can choose a hike within their capacity. Gentle Hikes reveals the number and location of steps (including handrail presence) on the trail; number/steepness of inclines exceeding 10 degrees; trail surface (e.g. paved, hard-packed dirt/gravel); trail width; rock/root rating; safety alerts; and other accessibility information, including parking and restroom type (e.g. flush/vault). We have also devised a trail rating system based on objective criteria clearly stated in the book. As further incentive, we reveal the places for best photo ops.

This fall, we hope the information provided will empower you to take a gentle hike along Minnesota’s spectacular North Shore!

If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here. You may also want to read Ladona’s post This Fall, Make Memories on the Trail.

Liliane Opsomer
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