Philosophy Walks

Merlin | Philosophy WalksThere are numerous reasons why getting out & about can help you live a healthier, happier, and more meaningful (deeply satisfying) life. Most people are aware of the physical benefits of being in nature, but there are also mental benefits.  Peripatetic philosophers such as the Ancient Greeks, for example, felt that there was a deep & intuitive connection between walking (in nature) & critical thought, so much so that they literally walked the earth & philosophized (hence the “prone to roam” moniker ‘peripatetic’). We enthusiastically agree and feel that “getting your feet dirty” & “sittin’ in trees” is a critical part of philosophy. With this in mind, our philosophy walks aim to help you kick off your shoes, exercise your body & mind, and reconnect with nature in ways that help to promote health and happiness.

We offer philosophy walks for adults & elders, as well as children! To view pictures from our philosophy walk outings, please visit our Merlin Meanderings Archive page.

 Our Merlin Meanderings

We offer free guided philosophy walks (a.k.a. ‘Merlin Meanderings’) on Merlin Nature Preserve (and other local areas) throughout the year.  The purpose of these fun meanderings are threefold — they allow an opportunity to: (1) exercise your body & mind, (2)  reconnect with nature, and (3) philosophically think about & discuss ideas and concerns that are important to you.  We will provide sign-up information and announce the date & location of our philosophy walks here.  You may also join our ‘Merlin Meanderings’  list to receive updates and/or contact us directly.

2019 Halloween Hayride-Philosophy Walk for Kids


Sunday, October 27th (10am – 1pm)

Merlin Nature Preserve

“Planet Hopping & Star Walking: A Journey into Outer Space”

Wear your Halloween costumes & get ready for fun!  This philosophy walk will be geared specifically for kids and will have a Halloween & philosophy-based theme. 

  • Planet Hopping & Star Walking: A Journey into Outer Space — A philosophy walk that explores cool things about our universe, science, imagination, mythology, and more.  Special guest speaker/storytellers Martin Richard & Michael Chapman.  Plus…a hayride, goodie bags, hot apple cider, homemade treats & more! 

Bring a sack lunch and/or snack and wear weather-appropriate gear (along with your costumes!).  Attendance by adults/parents/grandparents/siblings etc. is encouraged/welcome.   $10 suggested donation.  Space is limited.  Due to nature preserve logistics, registration and/or confirmation of attendance is required.  Our group will meet in the Silver City Saloon parking lot & caravan via our hayride wagon to Merlin Nature Preserve. 




November 2019 Philosophy Walk


Saturday, November 2nd (10am – 1pm)

Mount Helena Trailhead

“Nature & The Humanities”

Please join us for our philosophy walk on Saturday, November 2nd from 10am-1pm.  Special guest speakers/philosophers-on-trail — Ed Glowienka (Associate Professor of Philosophy, Carroll College) & Henry Kramer (2019 Merlin Student FellowUniversity of Montana Missoula).

Some of the things we’ll be exploring along the way:

  • What are the humanities and why are they important?
  • How the humanities speak to us & inspire action through story and imagination
  • The relationship between the humanities and scientific studies
  • Re-enchanting Nature via the humanities & the role of wonder
  • What does philosophy have to offer to the conversation?

No background in philosophy or the humanities needed to participate in this walk.  Please bring a snack, water, and wear weather-appropriate gear. FREE.  $5 suggested donation.


What to Expect on Our Philosophy Walks

Here is  a general overview of what you can expect on our Merlin Meanderings:

  • Free to the Public (donations welcome/appreciated)
  • 2-3 hour walks (opportunities for rest along the way)
  • Casual, positive & supportive experience
  • 1-2 philosophy guides; guest/volunteer nature guides (as available)
  • Small group sizes (generally 1-12 people; may be larger for special occasion walks)
  • Ample opportunity to enjoy nature

To get the most out of your experience with us and enjoy a healthy & safe walk, please bring with you on the day of the walk/hike:

  • Water & Snack
  • Weather appropriate attire & sun protection
  • A walking stick/Trekking poles
  • Comfortable Shoes/Hiking Boots

If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please e-mail [email protected], call our office at #406-502-2122, or our executive director & philosophy walk guide (Marisa) at #406-439-5788

Directions to Merlin Nature Preserve:  Our group will meeting in the Silver City Saloon parking lot located at 6042 Lincoln Road West.  From there we will take a hayride to Merlin Nature Preserve (approx. 3.5 miles from the SCS parking lot).  To reach the Silver City Saloon parking lot from Helena, take either the 15, N. Montana Ave. or Green Meadow Drive to Lincoln Rd.  Turn left onto Lincoln Road & head west (toward Marysville/Canyon Creek).  Drive roughly 6.5 miles.  Silver City Saloon will be on your right hand side.  Click here for google maps directions. For walks on the preserve, please plan on arriving approx. 15 minutes before hike/walk start time. For more information about the meandering, please contact our executive director & philosophy walk guide (Marisa) at #406-439-5788 or e-mail [email protected] 

2019 Spring & Summer Walks Archive

May 2019

“Know Thy City!”

(Dennis McCahon)

June 2019

The Environment, Ethics & Stewardship

(Christopher Preston & Patrick Kelly)

July 2019

Ethical Living: Can Hope Be a Virtue?

(David Nowakowski)

August 2019

Reconnecting with Nature

(Ryan Aikin & Henry Kramer)

August 2019

Reconnecting with Nature

(Ryan Aikin & Henry Kramer)

September 2019

Montana Internet: Team Hayride-Philosophy Walk

(David Nowakowski)

September 2019

Virtue & Excellence – From Ecology to Ethics

(David Nowakowski)

October 2019

Story and Imagination Across Cultures

(Shane Doyle & Henry Kramer)


Our Philosophy Walk Sponsors

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