Alison Young tells stories about her life as a thru-hiker through image, found sound, poetic and metaphor-rich word as well as music, bringing alive lessons from the trail that inspire, energize and ultimately heal the body, mind and spirit.


Alison Young – speaker, podcaster, blogger, presenter

With over 12,000 miles logged as a backpacker on six continents and a background as a professional musician and classical music host, Alison Young offers a unique perspective with engaging programs that connect us with the natural world and ultimately help us grapple with life’s challenges.

She began her flute studies at the age of 15 at the Interlochen Arts Academy, a boarding high school in Michigan. This was followed by advanced degree programs at USC’s Thornton School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Highlights of her 20-year professional career include playing Principal with the Boston, Atlanta and Houston Symphonies, recording two solo albums, touring Argentina and teaching classes in China.

In her late thirties, Alison developed a neurological condition called dystonia and lost her ability to move her hands at the highly skilled level required of a professional musician. It was a devastating loss, but using the natural world as a place to heal, she discovered a new way to express herself and for 15 years, was a classical music presenter for American Public Media as well as the host for many of the professional orchestras she used to be a part of.

When that career came to an abrupt end, she went to the place she always returned to when lost in spirit – the trail. Through her writing and speaking (and a little flute playing) she hopes to inspire you to “hike your own hike” too in this journey of life. 

short version, 100 words

An award-winning professional flutist and syndicated American Public Media classical radio host, Alison Young is the “solo, female, middle-aged, titanium-reinforced, long-distance backpacker” Blissful Hiker. She’s hiked over 12,000 miles on six continents and in one year, walked New Zealand’s “long pathway” Te Araroa and the Pacific Crest Trail. She shares stories about her life as a thru-hiker through image, found sound, poetic and metaphor-rich word as well as music, bringing alive lessons from the trail that inspire, energize and ultimately heal the body, mind and spirit.

If you are an event planner and need a specific length bio or high resolution photo of Alison Young for your materials, please contact Alison. 

a few blissful hiker hiking stats

Alison Young, the Blissful Hiker, at age 13 in Yosemite National Park.