Whether you are a naturist or not, you may have heard about naked hiking. In a few simple words, a naked hike is a classic hike, that is practiced naked. Yes, you read well, naked, without shirt or shorts!
This naturist activity has more and more adepts and is gradually gaining legitimacy from hikers. However, as it takes place outside of official naturist centers and areas, it requires a little knowledge to be practiced without risking encountering the police!
Hiking naked, is it legal?
In France and as the French site Droit et Naturisme rightly says, « Nudity is forbidden where it is not allowed! ». Basically, outside of official naturist centers and areas, no nudity. However, a page from the same site dedicated to naked hiking provides sound guidance. If the legal risk is not eliminated, it appears to be extremely limited.
The author gives us three reasons:
- A depletion of horrified walkers at the sight of naked hikers
- Law enforcement has other far more important issues than a bunch of people hiking naked
- Naked hikers take precautions to minimize encounters.
So to answer the question of the heading, naked hiking is generally not permitted by law. Most laws (article 222-32 in France for instance) do not, however, separate the simple nudity from the sexual exhibition. Naked hiking is a non-sexual naturist activity. A majority of naked hikers, therefore, does not consider their nudity to fall under sexual exhibition laws. However, it is up to a judge to decide. For the time being, the absence of preexisting trials proves the limited risk.
It should be noted that in some European countries, such as Spain or Germany, it is perfectly legal to hike naked without any legal risk. Others, like Great Britain or Belgium, have legislation close to those of France. Finally, in others such as the United States, we must rely on the laws of each state.
This being said and understood, naked hiking is waiting for us. So. let’s see where to practice it and the precautions to follow to keep this risk at its lowest level.
So, where are we going?
We’re going on a hiking path! A naked hike is a hike like any other. A good guidebook, a map, a compass or a GPS and you are ready. Not quite! We need to take precautions. Here are three pieces of advice that seem full of common sense:
- Choose low-frequented trails. Some trails are real highways, especially during holidays and weekends. They are to be avoided at first. A walk around social networks will allow you to have an idea. The trail loops of over 10 kilometers in the mountains and 15 kilometers on flat grounds generally attract fewer people. If you are in good physical shape, it is a choice to consider.
- Choose adapted schedules. Early in the morning in summer or during the week off school holidays is usually a good choice. You will encounter few people, if any at all, at these times. Avoid hunting periods, however. Not only the risk of receiving a lost cartridge is not nil, hunting and naturism are generally not going well together.
- Hike in a group. Two, three or five naked people go way better than a man alone. I know it’s not fair to male naked hikers, but it’s hard to end preconceived notions. This should not prevent you from hiking alone if you do not find a companion. But the group effect works fully.
Are you still OK? Have you found the ideal path, the perfect timetable and the companions of your naked hike? So let’s prepare it now!
What to take with you on a naked hike?
As with any hike, a little bit of common sense:
- Water! Lots of water, particularly if it’s hot. I tend to calculate half a liter per person per hour. Even for a six-hour hike, it’s only three kilos in the backpack. And it decreases over the course of the day!
- A good pair of shoes. Some walk barefoot, good luck on the rocky trails. I prefer a good pair of walking shoes for very long hikes (more than 8 hours) or Vibram Five Fingers for shorter ones. The Five Fingers have the immense benefit to be light and to give the impression of being barefoot, without the risk of cuts.
- A hat. This creates a little shade on the face and helps to avoid Besides, nothing is more pleasant than dipping one’s cap in the clear water of a stream to keep the head fresh!
- A snack. Even if the hike does not make you spend lunch on a path, stop to bite an apple sitting facing a beautiful landscape is a way to regain strength. Walking consumes energy. Feeding properly is essential.
- Quick shorts or a sarong. Uh, quick shorts? What’s that? It’s a short that has been prepared to be put on and removed it was a skirt (an example is provided on the site vivonsnus.com Here). Some naked hikers are also wearing a kilt. Short, skirt or sarong will allow you to wear something quickly if you encounter grumpy people or cross frequented areas like villages or roads. For women, a sarong knotted above the chest is an excellent and simple choice.
- First aid kit and sunscreen. We want vitamin D, but not sunburn!
- K-way and warm clothes in case of a sudden change of weather. Of course, adapt these clothes to the climate in which you are going to hike. But remember that a thunderstorm in the mountains can decrease the temperature by ten degrees Celsius in a few minutes. And that a strong wind can also reduce the felt temperature. It’s better to put some clothes at the bottom of the bag and not needing them than not to have them and find yourself freezing!
- A comfortable backpack.
We put all the equipment in the bag. We’ll check it out one last time. And we’re going!
On the trail…
If you follow a marked trail, the number of cars in the parking lot will inform you about attendance. There is none? Great! You will be able to drop the trousers quickly or even right in the parking lot. The ideal! Some? You’re going to have to be a little more cautious without falling into paranoia.
Loops usually have a privileged direction (the one provided by the guide). The majority of hikers will go in the same direction. You have little chance of crossing anyone. You may catch some hikers. Whereby shorts or skirt will be welcome.
Hikers are often friendly people. A big smile and a hello are good. If you are in a group, staying naked is an option to seriously consider. This often allows starting a good conversation with textile hikers about naturism and naked hiking. Alone, you should decide according to the context.
It is not uncommon on a loop to meet no one. It happens to me more frequently than we think. Certainly, because I rightfully choose trails and time. So, I put myself in this limitation of the risk I mentioned earlier.
The most important thing is to have a good time, to enjoy nature, and to breathe with full lungs. Feel free to share your experiences, comments, and comments below! I wish you good naked hikes!
For more information on naked hiking, I recommend you read the wonderful book from Richard Foley, Naked Hiking!
Get Naked, Stay Naked, Live Naked and Share the Naked Love!
Photo by theactivistuk – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Enjoyed information expressed here. I hike nude several times a week on local loops. Hiking is not legal here. I have encountered textile hikers and have had no problems. Some snickers, some, “this is a very private trail, we guess you thought you were alone, but no problem. ” and another ,” nude hiking! that’s wonderful”.
Your site is very interesting. Many great tips. I hike nude several times a week. I hike with a quick cover-up I call “Mock-Kilt” have had encounters w/no problems.
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In the Netherlands, forget it. ANY display of nudity is illegal “within sight of a public road or where deemed inappropriate by a court”.
Which amounts for basically the entire country except marked nudist beaches and private property well away (100m distance of hidden by head high barriers or better is the generally used test) from public roads (which include waterways, so no nude sunbathing on your boat either on or near a river or lake).
Wow, better cross the border and hike in neighboring Germany then…
This is a wrong explanation of the Dutch law. Unclothed recreation in the public space is explicit legal in the Netherlands, it has its own dedicated article in Dutch law (artikel 430a wetboek van strafrecht). It is even impossible (by municipalities for example) to forbid unclothed recreation in the public space. The article states that naked recreation is allowed at designated places (mostly nude beaches) and at places that are not unsuitable (yes that is double denial) for unclothed recreation. A place is unsuitable when their is (a risk for) disturbance of the public order, you cannot be fined for just being nude. So, at a place where recreational hiking is a common (or even main) activity you can not disturb the public order with the naked variant. For example you can hike naked in the public forests and on all (sea, river, lake!) public beaches. O, and cycling is another example of recreational activity….
And last but not least: your boat is considered to be a private area, even if it is completely open. You should only prevent people looking inside your boat if you are easy visible for non-recreational people passing by. It is their own problem if someone approaches your boat and then sees you naked.
So, no problems for you in The Netherlands, enjoy all your nude activities.
Laws vary in the US from state to state, county to county and even city to city, so. I can only speak locally. The state of California has no law against nudity. There is a law against lewd behavior, however simply being nude is not considered lewd. Now, the California State Department of Parks and Recreation has a regulation against being nude on state park property that has not been designated as clothing optional.. As they have not seen fit to designate any such area, nude on state land will get you a ticket.
In Los Angeles City and unincorporated areas of LA County, nudity is illegal in city and county parks. It is an ordinance promulgated by the local Parks and Recreation departments. Outside the parks, is is legal to be nude. However if you do so without warning, the local police will be happy to harass you. At a minimum they will ask you to dress. There are other ways to get you out of the public view like disturbing the peace, creating a traffic hazard, failure to obey the lawful order of a police officer, or simply pull you in for a mental health and safety check. usually you get a ticket and if you put up a fight the prosecutor will likely stall as long as they can and then decline to prosecute. Perfectly legal harassment. BUT – heaven help you if you do anything that smacks of sexuality. Then you will be nailed for lewd behavior under state law. That is either a misdemeanor or a felony. Then it will be up to a jury to decide whether you were lewd under contemporary community standards.
The lesson is that if you are nude in a public area, don’t be so that it ticks off the neighbors distracts traffic, or involves anything that someone else could consider sexual in nature. Don’t do it in parks or around schools. Your best bet is to wrap your nudity in some kind of political speech and notify the city of what you plan to . That is why the World Naked Bike Ride- LA is perfectly legal and undertaken with police support.
The BIG exception here is on National Forest land. The various ordinances against nudity in state and local parks don’t apply here. The Angeles National Forest has no anti-nudity law. As long as you aren’t visible from a road (distracting traffic) or engaging in lewd conduct per state law, you are free to be nude. Of course this doesn’t mean that people who might see you won’t call the police but there is a letter from the sheriff’s department instructing deputies that nudity is allowed on National Forest land in LA county.
In England it is perfectly legal to hike naked – there is now official guidance from the College of Policing (resulting from a lot of work by British Naturism and NAG) herewith the link http://naturistactiongroup.org/wp-content/uploads/College-of-Policing-statement-on-nudity.pdf which also now applies to Scotland.
Thank you Mike for this update.
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