A once sought-after destination during the California Gold Rush will now become a true gold mine for hikers who are ready to test their physical limits and live in perfect harmony with nature over several days.
Big Bear Lake, the jewel of the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California, will serve as the inaugural U.S. location for the internationally acclaimed HIGHLANDER event series from Sept. 27 to Oct. 2, 2022, as HIGHLANDER Adventure expands to America.
HIGHLANDER Big Bear Lake will offer three different formats: HIGHLANDER (60 miles), a five-day journey; HIGHLANDER (30 miles), a three-day journey; and HIGHLANDER (15 miles), a weekend adventure.
HIGHLANDER is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. During the HIGHLANDER hiking journey, each participant connects with nature and starts to look at life from a different perspective. The trail will test participants, but they will conquer it, making new friends and using all five senses along the way. Since HIGHLANDER is not a race and there are no winners or losers, participants — even perfect strangers — cheer each other on.
HIGHLANDER was founded in Croatia in 2017 when friends Jurica Barac, Igor Mlinarevic and Andrej Mlinarevic decided to share their love and passion for long-distance hiking. It has since grown to become a global series in 15 countries, including Austria, France, Greece, Morocco, Slovenia, and the United Arab Emirates.
‘’Our vision is to motivate people to go hiking and thus change themselves for the better — in both mental and physical health,’’ said HIGHLANDER Adventure CEO and co-founder Jurica Barac. “That is why we are happy and proud that HIGHLANDER is finally coming to the American ground. America is a country of immense natural beauty and people who want a change in their lifestyle. That is why we are sure the long-distance hiking HIGHLANDER will be a total hit.”
“HIGHLANDER is a long-distance hiking adventure open to anyone who wants to push their limits while learning about sustainable living,” Barac added. “For the first time, the HIGHLANDER event will take place in America, in Big Bear Lake, California, which exudes adventure and beautiful landscapes. So I invite everyone to join us from the 27th of September and make a change with us.
“Thanks to our global strategic partner Spartan Race, Visit Big Bear, and the HIGHLANDER team, who have been working on this venture for months to bring our ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’ to America. See you on the trail!”
In 2021, Spartan, the world’s leading endurance sports and extreme wellness brand, recognized HIGHLANDER’s potential as a strategic partner, paving the way to bring this unique, long-distance adventure-hiking event to the U.S.
The vision, mission and values shared by these two brands come from the same core: building mental and physical toughness to bring about positive lifestyle changes.
“Spartan’s partnership with HIGHLANDER allows us to encourage even more people around the world to participate in physically demanding activities that they think are beyond their reach,” said Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena. “This is about finding our limits and then pushing past them.”
Every HIGHLANDER event has its own iconic location — from expansive deserts to snowy mountain tops, and from sandy dunes to lakes and pastures — appealing to modern nomads.
Participants are encouraged to put down their smart phones and fully immerse themselves in nature, while joining the international HIGHLANDER community of hikers.
“The HIGHLANDER approach strikes the perfect balance between guided trek and self-sufficient expedition,” said Peter Watson, acclaimed travel writer, photographer and HIGHLANDER ambassador. “With many logistics taken care of, I can enjoy all the freedom that comes with trekking independently but with the added bonus of carrying less weight and not worrying about meals, gas supply, route planning or searching for suitable campsites every day. Instead, I just focus on the trail ahead and enjoy the scenery.”
“HIGHLANDER is also a great way to meet like-minded people and socialize while on the trail,” Watson added. “Even though I’m a solo hiker, other walkers are never far away and always happy to pause for a chat. The evenings are sociable affairs with trekkers sharing stories around a campfire. I’ve stayed in touch with many people I met on the trail and we’re already planning other HIGHLANDER treks.”
Early bird registration for HIGHLANDER Big Bear Lake is open, but space is limited. Learn more at: https://highlanderadventure.com/big-bear-lake/en-us
Founded in 2017 in Croatia, HIGHLANDER is a global hiking event series in 15 countries. The non-competitive, multi-day hikes visit some of the most breathtaking and iconic mountains in the world. As a brand, HIGHLANDER stands for nature preservation and education on respecting nature and healthy living.