Top TikTok Nature Trends – Health Benefits and Potential Pitfalls

Explore how TikTok's outdoor activity trends connect people to nature, with all its health benefits, and how that balances with conservation of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

By Ronald Wayne

Nov. 28, 2023—Recently, the Santa Cruz Mountains have witnessed a modern phenomenon: the rise of TikTok “nature” trends. This platform, a digital stage for global viral content, has turned its spotlight on the great outdoors, drawing a younger, tech-savvy crowd, via their screens, into wild nature.

TikTok: A Portal to Nature's Wonders

TikTok has evolved beyond dance challenges and lip-syncs to embrace a new genre: nature exploration. More and more influencers are using the app to bring towering redwoods and misty trails to millions of screens worldwide, inspiring a wave of digital natives to seek these experiences in person.

Video caption: Learn more trends in Prescribing Nature: Dr. Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, a Sempervirens Fund webinar.

Silent Walks, Forest Baths, and the New 'Hot Girl Walk': The Tranquility Trend

Nationwide and here in the serene expanses of the Santa Cruz Mountains, a new form of tranquility takes root on TikTok in the practice of the “#SilentWalk.” This contemplative practice invites individuals to quietly meander through the stillness of nature as a method to delve into deep thought or simply absorb the quiet of the wild. It's a chance to let the hustle of the outside world fade away with each silent step, allowing a peacefulness to settle over the mind.

Complementing this practice is the art of “forest bathing,” a concept known in Japan as 'shinrin-yoku.' This is about immersing oneself in the forest through a deep sensory experience. With "#ForestBathing," one is encouraged to slow down and become enveloped by the woodland ambiance, engaging with the natural environment through all the senses. It's a meditative interaction—where the whispering trees, the soft carpet of moss, and the fresh scents of redwood, oak and bay laurel become a backdrop to healing and restorative reflection.

The "Hot Girl Walk," a phenomenon that took TikTok by storm in the summer of 2023, is another addition to the array of outdoor activities trending on the platform. Introduced by TikTok content creator Mia Lind, this is a four-mile trek that focuses on thoughts of gratitude, personal aspirations, and self-empowerment. The scenic trails of the Santa Cruz Mountains offer the ideal setting for this practice, like this "#HotGirlHike" at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Tranquil natural landscapes like forests enrich the mindful walking experience, benefiting mind, body, and spirit.

Outdoor Adventure Trends Go Viral

TikTok has also amplified more traditional outdoor adventures. CNET's coverage points to trends like birding and backcountry hiking gaining traction. Locally, rugged terrain including Castle Rock State Park provide the platform’s users with a stage for such endeavors. Yet, while these trends do wonders for individual vitality and viewer engagement, they also bring an influx of risk-takers potentially unprepared for the mountains' challenges.

However, local authorities and influencers alike are now collaborating on content that highlights the necessary precautions, such as wearing safe gear and taking enough supplies on hikes. These measures ensure that thrill-seekers respect the inherent risks in the natural settings they explore.

Local Highlights: Captivating Content and Conservation

There are indeed content creators within the Santa Cruz Mountains who have managed to strike a balance between showcasing the region’s natural splendor and advocating for its conservation. Their content ranges from breathtaking vistas atop mountain peaks to the delicate interplay of light and shadow in the depths of a redwood forest. These creators draw attention to the need for preservation through compelling narratives and visual storytelling.

Some of these content creators possess the ability to use TikTok to communicate the urgency of conservation to a broad audience. Through their posts, they inspire appreciation for the local environment and provide actionable steps for their followers to become proactive in protecting these cherished landscapes.

At the southern end of San Francisco Bay, in a tiny town called Alviso, Barbie mania has caused a surprising stir leading thousands of people to flock to a pink colored salt pond, disturbing sensitive bird habitat at Alviso Marina County Park that connects to Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It’s great getting people into the parks but education is key to keeping conservation in mind. For more, see NBC Bay Area’s TikTok on the pink-pond issue.

A Community Effort: Preserving the Mountains' Magic

The task of protecting the Santa Cruz Mountains bioregion and its unique ecosystems is a shared mission. It involves a dynamic and cooperative relationship between digital influencers, conservation groups, local authorities, and the community. It's a joint venture that ensures these mountains continue to be a refuge for wildlife and a source of wonder for visitors and locals alike.

Embracing a Sustainable Digital-Nature Interface

TikTok, standing at the forefront of a digital revolution can help foster environmental mindfulness and action. By curating content that is as informative as it is captivating, and by nurturing collaboration among stakeholders, the platform can become a catalyst for a culture where virality goes hand-in-hand with environmental advocacy. The platform could help build a world where trending in the digital sphere means actively contributing to a greener, more sustainable planet.

Let us tread lightly on these ancient grounds, capturing the beauty of the moment while ensuring that future generations can do the same. In the balance of virality and conservation, let the scales tip towards a legacy of respect, responsibility, and reverence for the natural world that sustains us all.

Discover More: The Santa Cruz Mountains on TikTok

For those who wish to dive deeper into the vibrant community and scenic wonders of the Santa Cruz Mountains, or to witness firsthand the influence of TikTok trends on nature exploration and conservation efforts, we invite you to explore the hashtag "#SantaCruzMountains" on TikTok. Here, you'll find content ranging from serene forest walks to adrenaline-pumping adventures, all showcasing the unique beauty and environmental importance of this region.

References and Further Reading:
"What is silent walking? The latest viral workout trend has some intriguing benefits" (
"TikTok's latest trend: Strange adventures in the great outdoors" (CNET)
Dr. Hackenmiller's Webinar on the Connection Between Nature and Wellness (YouTube)
"How to Recreate Responsibly, Creators Edition - #CreateResponsibly" (Recreate Responsibly)