HIKE for Mental Health

Share the joy of hiking. Bring hope to those battling mental illness.

Share the joy of hiking; bring hope to those battling mental illness.


McDowell Nature Preserve Great Loop

May 4, 2019 • Charlotte, NC

Explore the 1,132 acres of the oldest nature preserve in Mecklenburg County...
Watch and listen for pileated woodpeckers, just one of the 119 species of birds that find refuge amidst the forests, streams and fields...
Stroll along well-maintained trails in habitat famous for the diversity of its spring wildflowers..

These are just a few of the attractions on the 3.5 mile great loop route on the trails of McDowell Nature Preserve in Charlotte, North Carolina.

McDowell Nature Preserve offers something for everyone in the outdoors: trails beside creeks and along the lakeshore, rambles in wooded areas, accessible picnic areas, and an informative Nature Center. Folks can explore the campground (maybe even camp there someday) and the lakefront for fishing (license required for over 16).

We will take a snack break about halfway through the hike, with the option to continue on and go the distance along the lakeshore or, for weary hikers, to make a short return to the parking lot.

Meet new friends and enjoy the natural beauty of Mecklenburg County, NC in spring, just 30 minutes from Pineville and 45 minutes from uptown Charlotte.

Registration Is Free

Instead of charging a fee, we ask your help raising funds for mental health research and trail maintenance.

It's fast and easy! When you register, you will be able to personalize a sponsorship page and share it through email and your favorite social media such as Facebook or Instagram. How does it work?  

Every little bit helps, and there is no minimum to raise – we just ask that you help us spread the word, then come join us on the trail.

Get a Free Hiking Shirt

Our quick-dry shirts look and feel great, on or off the trail.

Every registered hiker who raises at least $100 will receive a HIKE for Mental Health shirt as a token of our appreciation.

Available in men's or women's sizes SMALL – XXL.

When you register, we will ask your size preference. If you hit the $100 ten days before the hike, your hike leader will have your shirt for you on hike day. Otherwise, we will mail it to you after the hike.

So help us raise money and awareness for this great cause.

For a Good Cause

HIKE for Mental Health is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

All contributions are tax deductible, and 100% of the hike donations support our mission.

Eighty cents of every dollar funds mental health programs, including break-through scientific research into PTSD, schizophrenia, bipolar spectrum disorders, depression and other major mental ilnesses. Through research we can find better ways to alleviate the suffering that affects 1 in 4 American families.

The remaining twenty cents maintains wilderness trails across the U.S. By supporting non-profit, volunteer groups that care for our trails, we help preserve wilderness experiences for generations to come. Where the money goes.

Hike Details

Location: McDowell Nature Preserve, Charlotte, NC.
Date: May 4, 2019.
Time: 9 AM - 1 PM. Exact times and locations with directions provided to registered hikers only.
Distance: Approximately 3.5 miles.
Difficulty level: Easy to moderate. There are some mild inclines.
Suitable for beginners? Absolutely!
Registration fee Registration is free. 
Pet friendly? No dogs on today's hike, please, but you can bring them back another day to explore!
Sponsorship amount: The hike goal is $2,500. There is no minimum required to join the hike, but if every hiker raised $200, we would blow away our goal.
Free shirt: Hikers who raise $100 or more will receive a free HIKE for Mental Health quick-dry hiking shirt.
Hike director: Sharon McCarthySharon McCarthy: "I took up hiking as a primary activity in my 50's, proving that it is never too late! I've hiked in many parts of the U.S. and in other countries, but I also appreciate my local greenways and public lands and enjoy sharing them with friends new and old. I believe that every person's mental health is improved by getting outside, and putting my own feet on a dirt path soothes my spirit. Many times I have seen a walk in the woods calm and then lift up my friends and family members who struggle with mental health issues. I am excited to support this organization that advocates for the outdoors and for research to improve mental health. McDowell Nature Preserve has been a favorite place of mine for over 25 years, exploring with my family, leading Girl Scout troops and hiking groups. There is something for everyone in every season!"

Trail Map

Every HIKE for Mental Health is an opportunity to:

  • get away from the hustle and bustle of work-a-day life and enjoy the beauty of Nature
  • renew old friendships and make new ones
  • have a great time hiking with a good group of people
  • stand up against the stigma of mental illness
  • discover your new favorite get-away
  • raise money for a great cause

Come on out and join us!


If you have any questions or ideas, please contact us.

We are glad to talk with you about your hike and how you can help HIKE for Mental Health.

We hope you will make HIKE for Mental Health a part of your hike.

Go to Schedule of Hikes