Outdoor Recreation Industry Statistics 2023: The Ultimate List

Outdoor hiking statistics

The Ultimate List of outdoor recreation statistics is a collection of quantitative data that represents how the outdoor world has been doing in all areas.

They’re very useful when we are trying to state facts and figures for persuasion and other reasons, like enlightenment.

Without further ado, you will be seeing the ultimate list of the recreation statistics that we’ve compiled to help you easily sift through.

But first, let’s get conversant with the outdoor recreation industry a bit.

What is the outdoor recreation industry?

The outdoor recreation industry involves various groups of recreation activities that are carried out outdoors, such as hiking, fishing, scuba diving, etc.

 The outdoor recreation industry has accounted for 1.9 percent ($454.0 billion) of the current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) for the nation in 2021.

At the state level, outdoor recreation industry value added as a share of GDP ranged from 4.8 percent in Hawaii to 1.3 percent in New York and Connecticut. 

What does outdoor recreation involve?

Just to refresh your memory, outdoor recreation involves activities done outside, most commonly in natural settings.

The activities that make up the outdoor recreation industry vary depending on the physical environment they are being carried out in.

 I’ve created a moderate list of some of these recreational activities, check them out.

  • Backpacking
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Scuba diving
  • Running
  • Trekking
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Mountain climbing

The list goes on for a while.

Why don’t we get into outdoor recreation industry trends a little bit?

Current Outdoor Recreation Industry Trends.

When the pandemic hit the world, people got hold of enough free time to explore.

Then the Outdoor recreation trends came about, with a lot of free time, active children out of school, and a need to overcome depression, the outdoor recreational industry began to flourish.

Some of the current trends in the outdoor recreational industry include,

Access for all: Efforts have been adopted to attract more people to the great outdoors.

Government support: The Biden Administration announced on July 21, 2022, the re-establishment of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR).

The council’s return will make “Access for All” initiatives easier to implement on America’s public lands and waters.

Technology and Data: Outdoor industry has gone ahead to institute a variety of tech-friendly changes.

These include Making outdoor spaces more Facebook and Instagram-worthy; introducing virtual learning experiences; and the use of drones for recreational maintenance.

Advocacy on keeping trails open: More efforts have been put in by the outdoor recreational industry to free up and keep hiking and camping trails open.

The post-COVID period has recorded some losses in the outdoor industry. some of the challenges the outdoor recreational industry face include,

Fewer workers: It has been recorded that some outdoor recreational agencies are suddenly without vitally needed part-time staff who work as lifeguards and provide after-school programming and childcare for customers in the outdoor industry.

This is a result of the efflux of these workers to economically better job opportunities.

I’ve painstakingly researched some notable trends the outdoor recreational industry saw since its inception. They are:

  • The National Park Service showed a 25.3% increase in visitors during 2021, as compared to 2020. And while that’s not quite as high as pre-pandemic levels, certain individual parks saw record-high visitation, like Maine’s Acadia National Park (up 74% from April/May 2019) and Utah’s Canyonlands National Park (up 30%).
  • Polaris which grew its base by a whopping 40% during the pandemic went on to deliver record sales anFull-year. In fact, full-year reported and adjusted sales increased 17% to a record $8,198 million. While sales dipped significantly in early 2022, due to supply chain constraints, the brand’s current retail sales are still strong compared to pre-COVID levels
  • Hiking trails remain crowded
  • Cycling stayed popular throughout 2021, with e-bikes popping up everywhere.
  • Hunting sales and fishing sales remain fired up.
  • Despite the challenges, recent data from ResearchAndMarkets.com forecasts the ATV/UTV market to grow by 6.65% annually between 2022 and 2028.

Furthermore, I have made sure to pick as many of these recreational outdoor activities and give each quantitative data that seeks to statistically represent how the area is doing globally.

I believe I have lessened the stress you’d have gone through to lay hold on this.

Let’s get into it, next!

Hiking Statistics

Outdoor recreation statistics - hiking statistics

Hiking Health

1. More doctors are writing nature prescriptions by recommending ecotherapy to reduce anxiety, improve stress levels, and curb depression. (WebMD, 2013)

2. The mind and body are naturally connected (Times, 2017)

3. Urbanization is associated with an increased level of anxiety disorders and depression. But hiking can avert this coupled with antidepressants, after 4 months. (Lifehack, 2018)

4. Physical activity as simple and low-cost as hiking can provide so many mental health benefits. (Smarthikr, 2017)

5. Hiking helps to keep our brain cells nourished and healthy. (WomensHealthMag, 2017)

7. Aerobic hiking exercise helps improve memory and cognitive ability. (WomensHealthMag, 2017)

8. Hiking through a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination. (Pnas, 2015)

9. Trekking poles increased calorie burn without making participants feel like they were working out harder. (journals.lww. 2008)

9. Hikers who go through a natural environment have reduced neural activity in the area of the brain linked to mental illness. (Pnas, 2015)

7. Hiking improves endurance. (ncbi.nlm.nih, 2012)

8. Nature experience increases positive mood and decreases negative mood by releasing endorphins (feel-good hormones)

9. Exposing children with ADHD to hiking exercise reduces their ADHD symptoms

  • ADHD is a common disorder among children
  • Those with ADHD have difficulty controlling impulses and are easily distracted.

10. Hiking helps us think creatively by a 50% increase

  • Four days without technology is a good start

11. Hiking has been proven to improve sleep at night.

Body (the physical structure, including the bones, flesh, and organs, of a person)

12. Hiking is considered by experts to be better for fat burn

13. Hiking gives your muscles more endurance

                     Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, plantaris, and soleus

14. Hiking turns on and strengthens lots of muscles in your body that you don’t normally use

15. Hiking on uneven terrain increases the amount of energy your body uses by 28% compared to walking on flat ground

16. Uneven terrain hiking causes a 28 and 62% increase in positive knee and hip work, respectively

17. Hiking can burn 400 to 700 calories an hour

  • Hike uneven terrain or towards a hilly region

18. Overall weight loss

  • A 175-pound person who hikes 3 times a week for 2 hours is likely to lose approximately 1 pound per week if the calories consumed are the number required to maintain weight.
  • Cortisol is a hormone in your body that causes stress. It can drop to 13.4% if you do the 20 minutes of hiking in nature.
  • According to the studies, if you do hiking for 3 hours at least one time a week, the chance of having a heart attack will be less, and you will have a healthy heart.
  • The risk of endometrial cancer will be reduced to 20% if you do the hiking often.

Camping statistics:

  • One million new families start camping every year only in the USA.
  • If we talk about the last 5 years, the percentage of families who camp with children has increased by 17%.
  • When comparing the camping ratio with 2014, there has been an increase of campers by 46% in 2019.

Trekking Statistics:

  • Nepal is the most visited place in the world for trekking, and about 25% of tourists go there only for this purpose.
  • From 2005 to 2012, 1.3 million people visited Nepal for tracking between the ages of 31-45.
  • About 29% of persons choose Everest for tracking in Nepal.

Hunting Statistics:

  • There are more than 15 million people who participated in hunting in 2017.
  • From 2006 to 2017, approximately 2.1 million young adults participated in hunting, and their ages are between 18 to 24 years.
  • More than 15.5 million people paid for a license for hunting in 2017.


Mountain island that is way above than normal surface in the form of a peak. Mountains are huge and usually steeper than the hill.

Mountain Biking Statistics:

  • According to the Global Mountain Bike market, from 2017 to 2021, the growth rate of CAGR will be 9.84%. 
  • If we talk about the Global Mountain Bike market from 2020 to 2024, mountain biking will generate a revenue of $2.5 billion, with an estimated growth of a CAGR of 5%.
  • In 2018, around 8.69 million people participated in mountain biking only in the U.S.

Backpacking Statistics:

  • According to the research on the most affordable cities for backpacking in January 2020, Saigon, the city in Vietnam, is the most affordable place with an average cost of $19.5 per day.
  • A study says that from 2006 to 2018, approximately 10.6 million people participated in backpacking in the USA.
  • From June 2017, the average expense of a single backpacker has increased from $5153 to $5338.

Rock Climbing Statistics:

According to a paper from Wilderness and Environmental Medical Journal in 2012,

  • 2198 people have been rescued by the RMRG from 1998 to 2011 in Boulder County.
  • The number of victims was 428, with a percentage of 19.5 in rock climbing.
  • The age of these victims is between 10 to 19 years.

Caving Statistics:

  • From 1980 to 2008, there is 877 cave incidents have been reported.
  • Their ages are from 2 to 69 years.
  • Among them, 83% were male, and 17% were female.

Fastpacking statistics:

  • For fastpacking, the base weight should be 10 pounds.
  • The weight that fast packers carry should not be more than 15 pounds.
  • The ultra-light frameless bag of fast packers has an average weight start of 400g.

Hillwalking Statistics:

  • According to the survey, 67,000 people participated in Hillwalking in England in 2006.
  • These numbers increased in 2014 to 79,500.
  • From the reports of ROSPA, 1000 accidents occur per 100m walk.

Winter Sports:

These sports are competitive games and winter activities that are played on the ice or snow.

Ice Skating Statistics:

  • The number of people who participated in ice skating in 2010 was 12 million, and this is the maximum amount ever.
  • The participants in ice skating in 2017 were around 10 million.
  • This amount has been downed from 10.3 million from the previous year.

Skiing Statistics:

  • Germany has a record of the highest number of ski participants, 14.6 million in 2018.
  • In 2016, the USA had approximately 13.91 million participants of the ski.
  • During the ski season of 2018/19, 478 ski resorts have been operating in the USA.

Sledding Statistics:

  • According to the study of Pediatric Surgery International in 2015, 52 children have been injured because of sledding.
  • 37% of these patients have an average severity of the injury.
  • From 2011 to 2015, the number of people that have been treated with sledding injury was 23.

Snowboarding Statistics:

  • More men have participated in the snowboarding season of 2009 to 2012 than women.
  • The percentage of the season participation was 59% (Men) and 41% (Women).
  • Every four out of five participants are 34 years or younger.

Snowmobiling Statistics:

  • 124,786 snowmobiles were sold globally in 2018.  
  • 1.2 million Snowmobiles were registered in the USA.
  • 45 years is the average age of snowmobilers.

Ice climbing Statistics:

  • The ice climbing starts from November to March.
  • The estimated time of every season is 4275 hours.
  • Every season only lasts for five months.

Water Sports:

Those sports which are played on water or near are known as water sports. It includes swimming, surfing, water polo, etc.

Canoeing Statistics:

  • There were almost 9.1 million people have participated in canoeing in 2018.
  • This amount was larger in the year 2017, 9.2 million people.
  • The age of these participants was between 18 to 24 years.

Scuba diving Statistics:

  • According to the report of DAN in 2010, the fatality occurs 1 out of 211,864 dives.
  • To qualify for the open water certification, the diver has to go down to at least 60 feet.
  • In 2016, the most number of deaths occurred in Scuba diving.

Kayaking Statistics:

  • There are 663 death occur because of kayaking in 2018 in the USA.
  • The number of accidents that occur in 2018 was 4145.
  • $46 million property damage happened because of this water sport.

Sailing Statistics:

  • In 2017, the French Sailing Federation had issued 1750 sailing licenses.
  • 530 people who got the license are 80 years or older.
  • The UK has funded 7.6 million pounds for sailing in Olympic 2004.

Surfing Statistics:

  • 100 pounds is the average weight of the surfboard.
  • The surfing industry can earn up to $7.29 billion annually.
  • 103 people have surfed the wave at the same time, which is a record.

Fishing Statistics:

  • There are approximately 49.5 million people participated in fishing in the USA in 2018.
  • 20% of these people had earned more the $50 thousand in 2018.
  • 16% of these people are aged between 45 to 54 years.

Canyoning Statistics:

  • In 2015, from May to October, there are 57 injuries occurred.
  • This time period includes 13,690 hours.
  • 4.2 injuries per thousand injuries occurred because of Canyoning in 2015.

Rafting Statistics:

  • The fatality rate is 0.55 per 100,000 users.
  • The injury rate in rafting is 6 per 100,000 boating days.
  • The percentage of Chorionic injuries in rafting is from 25% to 40%.

Coasteering Statistics:

  • In the UK, from 2015 to 2018, the number of participants had been increased three times.
  • Around 31.8% of people in the UK participated in 2018.
  • 293,000 people participated in 2018.


A plain is a piece of land that is flat and does not change its elevation.

     Running Statistics:

  • The percentage of injuries in runners is 70.
  • According to the study, 20 miles running in a week help you live longer.
  • 1 out of 5 people doesn’t have marathon genes.

     Walking Statistics:

  • In 2005, 59% of people walked at least 10 minutes a day.
  • Walking can increase your life for 5 to 6 years.
  • It can reduce the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and depression.

     Cycling Statistics:

  • 12.4% of Americans regularly cycled in 2016.
  • The number of cyclists increased three times from 2014 to 2017 in the USA.
  • In 2014 the figure was 43 million, which increased to 47.5 million in 2017.

Read Best CamelBak For Hiking

Air Sports:

In air sports, you can see a lot of aerials activities such as Air Racing, Ballooning, Drone Racing, etc.

Skydiving Statistics:

  • United States Parachuting Association said that there are around 3 million jumps happening every year.
  • The fatality rate is 21, according to the report in 2010.
  • The chances of death are 0.0007% from 3 million jumps.


This term is related to horse riding, and that person who is an expert horseback rider is called Equestrian.

Horseback riding Statistics:

  • Approximately 30 million Americans ride horses every year.
  • Most of the riders are of the age of 25 years, around 70%.
  • Out of 30 million, 2,300 people got injured annually.

Read Best Hydration Pack For Hiking


This is obviously not an exhaustive list. But I hopefully believe you will find something to use from this list

One thing is sure, this list will keep being updated to reflect what is happening currently in the outdoor recreation world.


What is the most popular outdoor recreation activity?

On the top of the outdoor recreational activity list is Running ( Jogging or Trail-running). And closely following is Biking, followed by camping.

How many people participate in Outdoor recreational activities?

Following the COVID period, statistics record a huge rise in participants in outdoor recreational activities. Although this number has reduced, there’s a greater statistical record of people engaging in outdoor recreational activities compared to the pre-COVID period.

What is the size of the outdoor recreational market?

 The outdoor recreation industry has accounted for 1.9 percent ($454.0 billion) of the current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) for the nation in 2021.

At the state level, outdoor recreation industry value added as a share of GDP ranged from 4.8 percent in Hawaii to 1.3 percent in New York and Connecticut.

Is the outdoor recreation industry growing?


The industry has recorded massive growth, especially during the COVID period (2020-2021).

Is the outdoor market growing?


Revenue in the Sports & Outdoor segment is projected to reach US$84.02bn in 2023.

Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) of 9.48%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$120.70bn by 2027.

In the Sports & Outdoor segment, the number of users is expected to amount to 1.71bn users by 2027.

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