highlander big bear lake
China Island, Big Bear Lake, Calif.; (photo/HIGHLANDER)

‘Adventure of a Lifetime’: World’s Largest Hiking Event Series Comes to US

In the movie, ‘there can be only one.’ But the HIGHLANDER hiking series isn’t a race — and you don’t have to be immortal to reap the benefits.

On Sept. 27, hikers will flock to Big Bear Lake, Calif. But not with dreams of coming out on top or becoming the Highlander. Participants of all skill levels will get a chance to “test their physical and mental limits while living in perfect harmony with nature over a journey of several days,” event organizers said.

The Big Bear event is HIGHLANDER’s first foray into the United States. Fully supported backpacking excursions of 60 miles over 5 days, 30 miles over 3 days, and 15 miles over a weekend are on tap. And it seems the HIGHLANDER team has thought of everything.


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Founded in Croatia, HIGHLANDER calls itself “the world’s first and largest” global long-distance hiking event series. Since its 2017 inception, it’s grown to include over 100 events in 20-plus countries.

Besides the U.S., this year’s schedule includes locales as far-flung as the United Kingdom, Bosnia, Slovenia, Greece, and the United Arab Emirates.

If you participate at Big Bear Lake, Calif., later this year, HIGHLANDER says you will “hike parts of Pacific Crest Trail, sleep under billions of stars in the wild heart of mountain, and find yourself excited for what the next day of hiking and exploring will bring to your Adventure of a Lifetime.”

A Closer Look at the ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’

At Big Bear Lake, participants will get full support from the HIGHLANDER team in the form of meals, maps, camping accommodations, and other pivotal trail needs.

They’ll also access the company’s education opportunities on how to preserve nature for future generations. And medical and rescue personnel will stand by at all times.

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On Big Bear’s Pineknot Trail; (photo/HIGHLANDER)

The hikes themselves will take place in the San Bernadino National Forest. HIGHLANDER notes the terrain it chose for each of the three hikes is “remote.”

And the organization provides maps of the routes, complete with start and end points, checkpoints, and elevation changes along the way. Just scroll down on the organization’s homepage for the full-color “World of HIGHLANDER” cartography.

HIGHLANDER also opts to entice prospective hikers with nature-y romanticism. CEO Jurica Barac said:

We are confident that this HIGHLANDER experience, which explores one of the most unique destinations in the U.S., will help participants push beyond their limits and conquer self-doubt, giving them a newfound sense of gratitude for nature that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

HIGHLANDER is designed to unite people through a common journey where even perfect strangers cheer each other on, often resulting in lifelong friendships.


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Interested? All things considered, the supported hikes won’t cost an arm and a leg (or your head). The 60-miler runs $549; the 30-mile outing goes for $349; and the weekend 15-miler costs $299.

For more, check out HIGHLANDER’s website.

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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.