Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.
Elle Ossello | 05.23.2019

We hold tight to the conviction that an adventure is an adventure—no matter how epic or how small. So when we caught wind of the concept of the microadventure, we were all in from the start. While there will always be a place in our outdoor world to admire the greats achieving the impossible, when viewed through the right lens our backyards are just as grand (no, really!). We’re willing to wager that once you start embarking on your own microadventures, you’ll find a prolific community of folks dedicated to the art of microadventuring—talk about a win/win.

The only thing that’s absolutely required for a microadventure is a shift in mindset. Instead of waiting for the weekend and maintaining momentum in the routine of happy hour and Netflix, reframe your concept of after hours and peek at Google Maps. Which parks, trails, rivers, lakes, or natural areas are just down the block or a mere half-hour away? If you happen to live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Boise, Portland, or Denver, we’ve already done the heavy lifting for you, but truth is the real magic is not in the actual location and type of adventure, it’s what you find when you get there.

Below, we’ve created a quick list of suggestions for perfecting your microadventure practice. There is no right or wrong way to do it; as long as you’re outdoors, you’re doing it right. Heck, we’ll even send you a virtual high five if the extent of your microadventure is strolling around your block admiring your neighborhood’s blooming flowers.


Microadventures, like a visit to Hamilton Park near Seattle, showcase where the city and nature intersect, and they are a great way to learn more about where you live. Tyson Gillard.

Learn Something New

Imagine waking up and being able to identify the bird chirping in the nearby tree? That is the mark of a successful microadventure.

Our world is bursting with the new and the unknown. Fresh greenery and wildflowers punctuate side yards, unfurl through cracks in the sidewalks, and poke up among our neighbors’ landscaping as a symphony of bird songs saturate the dewy air. But how many of these daily plants and animals can you actually name? Think of a microadventure as a perfect medium to learn something new and expand your knowledge of your backyard. No matter which corner of the globe you call home, there is a wealth of identification books specifically catered to the little green buddies or flying friends you’ll find out your front door. (There are plenty of apps, too, but we’d rather pair our microadventures with a good used book than a screen.)

Better yet, search for your local mycology, foraging, or birding group. We’d be willing to bet that any group leader can single handedly redefine your relationship with the world you thought you knew so well.


Hard to believe that scenes like the Meyberg Waterfall, part of Los Angeles County Arboretum, can be found in a thriving metropolis. Anzelina Coodey.

Use Public Transportation

The concept of getting all the way across town for a few dollars and the opportunity to hang out and read a book (and not get annoyed by bad drivers) is truly underrated. Plus, there’s a major misconception that public transportation only operates within the confines of city limits. Chances are, the public transit in your city or town grants you access to some pretty amazing places, so grab a map, plan ahead (or better yet, don’t!), and hop off at a stop at which you’ve never considered exploring.


The High Line in New York City is a place to grow your knowledge of the outdoors. Photo by Tony Webster (CC 2.0).

Use Your Routine to Your Advantage

True, there are people who might assert that the microadventure is, in itself, defined by novelty—new places, new experiences, new knowledge, and new people. But we’re here to say that there’s no wrong way to microadventure. Is there a trail in your world that has felt your footsteps hundreds of times? A bike path that you can subconsciously map every last crack? 

You’re already winning when you head out. There’s a reason why the term “decision fatigue” exists—for those of us with busy careers packed full to the brim, the idea of planning anything, even happy hour, is exhausting. If you feel this way, and you’ve read this far, major gold star for you. And we have good news: Your ol’ reliable is just as much of a badass microadventure as the brand new objective you’ve had your eye on.

We challenge you to reassess the routine, though. Sometimes, autopilot is a welcome after-hours mindset, but the real benefit of calling it a microadventure comes with the fresh perspective and vow to find something new along the way. Whether that entails a new knowledge of plants along the way, a pit-stop meditation at an overlook, or a new adventure pal in tow, that’s where the magic happens. Happy microadventuring!


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