The longest running student-run organization on campus, the Hiking Club, was founded in May 1919. Its earliest members sought to create an organization that promoted interest among students of the university in all outdoor activities, because "the University of Colorado is so wonderfully situated near the mountains within easy access of many 14,000-foot peaks." For nearly 90 years, the club has been the premiere on-campus organization for university students interested in hiking and sharing the general love of the out-of-doors, by offering adventures throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.
Tradition is deeply ingrained in the club history. In the past, memberships in the club were confirmed each semester by a climb to the top of Green Mountain, the club's sacred ground. New initiates were tested by naming the visible summits, ranging from Mount Meeker in the north to Pikes Peak in the South. Dinner banquets were held to welcome the new members into the club, and awarded veteran member hikers who had tallied the most significant mileage entry into the prestigious "750 mile club" immortalized on a plaque with the club's traditional pack board logo. The pack board represents the early backpacks used by the club's mountaineers to haul their gear up into the high peaks of the Rockies while wearing high laced hobnails on their feet. To this day, any inquiry about the distance left to hike still has but one answer, "half mile more, then downhill the rest of the way up!"
The club has had various time-honored trips since its inception. Local favorite trips over the years have included the jagged Arapaho Peaks of the nearby Indian Peaks Wilderness, challenging ascents of Longs Peak, leisurely day-hikes among the picturesque Flatirons, and the classic day-trip to the summit of Green Mountain. Of course, "no hikes are ever postponed on account of weather." Improved transportation options over time have sent the club to the far reaches of the Rocky Mountain region, to spring break trips in the scenic deserts of Utah and New Mexico or the rugged peaks of Wyoming, but some of the old favorites closer to home have never changed. On all of these trips, club events, and inside the club room in the University Memorial Center, the Hiking Club has always been a place to form treasured relationships with fellow students, a gathering of CU students who share a love for the outdoors.