How a Kansas City Woman Turned Her Love for Hiking into a Profitable Business

Lisa Peña always loved to explore new places, whether it was backpacking around the world or hiking in her hometown of Kansas City. But it was not until she heard a podcast about urban hiking that she realized she could turn her passion into a business.

Urban hiking is a concept that involves walking through the streets and alleys of a city, discovering hidden gems and learning about its history and culture. Peña was inspired by the story of Alexandra Kenin, who founded UrbanHikerSF, a company that offers urban hiking tours in San Francisco.

From Side Hustle to Full-Time Job

Peña decided to launch her own urban hiking business, Urban Hikes KC, in 2019. She started out as a side hustle, while working for Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri. She charged $28 per person for guided tours around different neighborhoods of Kansas City, such as the Arts District, the Westside, and the River Market.

She spent a year researching routes, building a website, getting insurance, and setting up a payment system. She also contacted Kenin for advice and guidance. She soon realized that there was a lot of interest and demand for her tours, both from tourists and locals. She added more routes and hired more guides to help her.

How a Kansas City Woman Turned Her Love for Hiking into a Profitable Business

In 2020, she quit her full-time job and focused on growing her business. She also increased her price to $38 per person. She says that it was a scary leap, but it paid off.

A Pandemic-Proof Business

Peña says that her business took off during the pandemic, as people were looking for outdoor activities that were safe and socially distanced. She says that urban hiking is a great way to enjoy the city while staying healthy and active.

She also says that urban hiking is more than just walking. It is an immersive experience that allows people to learn about the history, culture, art, and architecture of Kansas City. She says that she loves to show people parts of the city that they would never see by car or bus.

She now offers 10 different routes, each with its own theme and highlights. Some of the popular ones include:

  • The Downtown Urban Hike, which covers landmarks such as the Power and Light District, the Library District, and the Crossroads Arts District.
  • The Westport Urban Hike, which explores the oldest neighborhood in Kansas City, known for its nightlife, restaurants, and shops.
  • The Plaza Urban Hike, which showcases the Spanish-inspired architecture and fountains of the Country Club Plaza, one of the first shopping centers in America.

A Dream Come True

Peña says that she is proud of what she has achieved with Urban Hikes KC. She says that she has turned her hobby into a profitable business that brings joy to herself and others. She says that she has met amazing people along the way and learned new things about her city.

She says that she plans to expand her business in the future, by adding more routes, guides, and partnerships. She also hopes to inspire other entrepreneurs who want to pursue their passions.

She says that urban hiking is not only a fun activity, but also a way of life. She says that it teaches people to appreciate their surroundings, connect with their community, and discover new perspectives.

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