Ozark Expert

Dan Nash's turf spans Arkansas, Missouri and the world

By Zoë Rom  /  Photos Courtesy of Satori Adventures

Dan Nash / Hometown: Springfield, MO

Dan Nash / Hometown: Springfield, MO

How long have you been a guide?
Off and on for 20 years, but really since 2007.

Why did you become a guide?
I always loved the outdoors. From the time I was a small child, I always spent a lot of time outdoors. I went to grad school, got a job, and then in grad school that idea came around and I thought “I could probably make some money doing this.”

What drew you to the Ozark Region?
I’ve been hiking and backpacking and climbing in the Ozarks forever. It's home.

What is your favorite hiking trail in Arkansas?
I like to take people to the most rugged and wild parts of Arkansas. Most of them are off the grid, but Rock Creek, just east of Ash Flat,  and Leatherwood Wilderness near Norfork are amazing. I want to expose people to other stuff. The good stuff isn’t on a trail, or in a book.

What kinds of trips do you guide, and do they vary in level of difficulty?
We guide everything from easy family friendly to moderate and more strenuous hikes. We love to expose everyone to the Ozarks.

What training or certifications do you have? 
I’m a member of the American Mountain Guides Association and a board member of the American Hiking Guides Association. I am a certified hiking guide, backpacking guide and mountain leader.

What is something you always take with you when you go hiking?
Dark chocolate and my survival kit.

Being a guide is your career, how does this change or influence your relationship with the outdoors? 
It allows me to spend more time out there, and it also enables me to expose and teach people about the outdoors. I think of it as a great opportunity to teach people to be safe and to enjoy the outdoors.

What makes your guiding service unique?
We only use certified guides. Lots of people can say they’re guides, but ours are actually certified.

What advice do you have for beginning hikers? 
Everyone thinks they can just go out in the woods, and I just think that people take it for granted. You can get hurt. It’s not Walt Disney World. Get trained.

You’ve spent a lot of time guiding in the Ozarks, but where else has guiding taken you? 
I’ve led trips on five continents and in 22 countries, in the most rugged and wild places on Earth. Some of the highlights would be Patagonia, Nepal,  Tibet, Iceland, Africa, Beirut and Alaska.

For more information on Dan Nash, visit hikingtheozarks.com. Hiking the Ozarks will hold its 7th Annual Outdoor Rendezvous at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch on Oct. 21-23. The event brings together outdoor enthusiasts from around the country.