Arctic Explorer Matthew Henson. Photo: NatGeo

Check out Sierra Club’s recent profile of 9 pioneering African American outdoorspeople. We highly recommend that you read the entire profile of the following trailblazers and explorers:

  • Charles Young, the first black man to become a national park superintendent.
  • Matthew Henson, pioneering Arctic explorer.
  • George W. Gibbs Jr the first African American to set foot on the continent of Antarctica.
  • John Francis, widely known as the “Planet Walker” he was an early environmental activist who hiked across the entire continental US to raise awareness about the state of our planet.
  • Robert Taylor, the first African American to thru-hike both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Sophia Danenberg, the first black woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
  • Rahawa Haile, solo-hiked the Appalachian Trail.
  • Kai Lightner, born in 1999, Kai Lightner has already earned 12 national championship titles for climbing, and he’s a five-time youth world championship medalist.
  • Shelton Johnson, Yosemite park ranger and Buffalo Soldier historian.

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