To the delight of hikers around the across the globe - and to the surprise of others! - June 21st is Naked Hiking Day.

The summer solstice has been observed for centuries in a variety of ways. However, Naked Hiking Day is a relatively new event. Though - should you be brave enough to approach one - advocates of nude hiking will tell you that it's been practised since the dawn of time.

The date which falls on the northern hemisphere's longest day (one presumes for maximum tanning opportunity) is marked by hikers donning their boots, packs and not much else before heading to the hills.

While it's fairly common in Europe and the United States, the event is thought to have its origins on the Pacific Crest Trail. Known as the PCT for short, the trail stretches 4270 kilometres from the Mexican Border to Canada and generally takes the best part of five months to complete.

Advertisement

As Outside magazine's Ian Tuttle headed to a portion of the track in California, he observed the track was "swarming" with long distance hikers – walking as nature intended.

Though for some of the hikers he interviewed that meant carrying the odd hiking pole and or a plastic Frisbee:

"I will probably burn today," one pale-looking walker said. "Whatever. It's Hike Naked Day. I think I might just walk with my Frisbee." What a trooper!

He had just reached day 71 on the trail and was clearly in a good mood.

While the PCT doesn't necessarily require clothes, it does require a permit to hike.

The PCT association which works with the five state parks through which the trail crosses. The permits limit the route to 50 hikers per day, and these fill up quickly.

Like the best things in life, the cost of applying for a permit is free! However the association does advise walkers to budget between US$4000-8000 (NZ$6000-12000) for the five-month hike. No matter how hardy you are: at some point you are going to have to shell out for clothes, and I can imagine you will want to take out very comprehensive health insurance if you are doing the PCT in 'the buff'.

However from the Californian hills to the Southern hemisphere, it appears the opportunity to strip-off has been taken up by naturists around the world.

Advertisement

The hashtags #hikenakedday and #hikenaked have had over a thousand submissions from Australia, Scotland, Switzerland even a couple of brave hikers in New Zealand.

Fortunately most trail-naturists restrict themselves to remote parts of tracks.

Yet for some walkers, Naked Hiking Day is every day.

Stephen Gough - better known as the "Naked Rambler" – brought the practice of "freehiking" to public attention with his attempts to walk the length of the UK naked.

The former Royal Marine was arrested multiple times for public indecency spending over six years in prison, after attempts to walk from Land's End in Cornwall to the top of Scotland.

He was released from jail in July 2011, only to be immediately rearrested for trying to leave the prison naked.

The 'prisoner of conscience' has divided opinion with many newspapers and a play Who Bares Wins celebrating the Rambler as a hero of gymnosophic rights.

But let Gough be a caution to all would be trail nudists, keep your naturism for way out in nature.

Happy trails, until next year!