Who We Are

1: a sharp point or spike; also: the tip of a spear

The view from our property was breathtaking! The muddy and wild Missouri River rolls southward out of Nebraska along the Western border of its namesake state. A few miles north of Kansas City it turns sharply to the East. It bisects the Show Me state as it snakes through hills, valleys, and farmland towards St. Louis and its confluence with the mighty Mississippi. 

Along the way its relentless, pounding current carves a trench through Missouri’s karst topography. The resulting bluffs soar hundreds of feet above the muddy water. Their faces are pockmarked with sandstone caves, and their ridges are crowned with thick jungles of cedar pines, evergreen firs, and native deciduous trees. One of those bluffs, one right near the middle of the state, was on my family’s property. It juts out to a point as the river rolls around the bend, and it offers a panoramic display that extends from the Pacific to the Atlantic and down to the Gulf of Mexico. It is high ground. It stands sentry over the river valley below, as it has for millennia. It is the tip of the spear, the Pike.

Accessing the Pike was no easy task. It required salt and grit, blisters, and blood. With nothing more than a pickaxe and hand saw, my family, friends, and I carved a trail through the dense woodland leading up the bluff. The way is narrow and winding. Our trail skirts a massive ravine on one side and a steep canyon on the other. It bobs and weaves. It crosses a stream and traverses outcroppings. The Pike Trail is no easy climb, but nothing worth doing ever is.

Our company was forged in the same spirit as the trail that bears its name. We are the tip of the spear, rugged and determined, dedicated to leading the way in quality, value, and reliability. We don’t take shortcuts and we don’t let others blaze trails, we do that. We do it because the view from the top is amazing, and we want everyone to see it.

Whether you’re stalking a Muley in the Rocky Mountains, riding the rapids in the Canyonlands, or blazing a trail through the Appalachians, you can rest assured that Pike Trail has your back, and our gear will never let you down. The rest is up to you.

Pike Trail Virtues

Our company is named Pike Trail based off of these same virtues and values of relentless determination and a passion to create products that are tough enough to survive and protect us in the great outdoors. We strive to put this same kindred spirit into each of our products, never compromising on quality and always committed to bringing you gear that will last. Unlike other Hiking Gear Companies - No short-cuts are ever taken at Pike Trail as we continually search for and create products around our journeys down the trail.

Help Wanted - Customers of Hiking Gear Companies

We are always in Beta when striving to perfect our Pike Trail line of products. We don’t believe in perfection per say, but we do believe a product can be enhanced to strive for this unending lofty goal. Using feedback from our Pike Trail Field Consultants and our Customers we aim to improve our products with every new production run. If you have a thought, idea or suggestion – please let us know. Every bit of Feedback matters to us, no matter how Big or Small..!


Josh Hendershott

Jay Atkins

Jay Atkins, Pike Trail’s Senior Outdoor Editor and Product Consultant, grew up in Fort Collins Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. When he was twelve, his dad taught him how to fish for trout on the roaring Cache la Poudre River, and he’s been hooked on the outdoors ever since. Jay and his family now live in Columbia, Missouri, where they spend their summers exploring America’s treasure trove of National Parks in their renovated 1972 Airstream Ambassador, Mr. Miles. Jay is proud to be part of the Pike Trail family where he helps ensure every Pike Trail product meets or exceeds our clients’ rigorous demands in quality, value, and innovation.

Chris Cooley

Chris was born and raised in the small town of Palmyra, IN. He was introduced to the sports of hunting and fishing at an early age by his father, Chuck Cooley. Over the years, Chris has been blessed with the opportunity to hone his hunting and fishing skills through a plethora of outdoor experiences, some of which include scuba diving and spearfishing the shipwrecks off the coast of North Carolina, hunting free-range red stag in Argentina, hunting antelope and mule deer in New Mexico, hunting whitetail in Missouri, North Carolina, Indiana, and Wyoming, fly fishing through most of the country, including the Appalachian’s in the east…to Colorado, Utah, and Washington in the west. With all of his outdoor experiences, Chris always depends on gear that is light, durable, dependable, and effective. Chris is extremely excited and blessed to be a part of the Pike Trail family and to have the opportunity to work with such a talented organization that shares the same passion for the outdoors. Chris is a father of 2, and he and his wife are now enjoying the opportunity to introduce their children to the outdoors, and passing on their passion for the outdoors to the next generation!

Erik Darkow

Born and raised in the Midwest, Erik has always spent time outdoors. He’s an avid believer in living an active lifestyle and spends his free time traveling, fishing, hiking, biking, and running. A backpacking trip to Rocky Mountain National Park as a child ignited his desire to explore as much of the outdoor world as possible. Erik was an early tester of Pike Trail products during his recent hiking trips to Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Guatemala, and Belize. He is married with no kids — just two dogs (Mo and Wally) — and looks forward to continuing his partnership with Pike Trail to bring forward the best products to the market.

MJ Gordon

As the newest member of the Pike Trail Team, MJ Gordon is a breath of fresh air that has revitalized and reenergized everything we do! As Pike Trail’s Chief Media Evangelist, MJ drives our social media and marketing presence with her passion for outdoor fitness and creative energy as a photographer and videographer. If you want to know what makes Pike Trail special, just watch MJ. Her passion for healthy living, personal empowerment, and outdoor adventure animate everything she does. And that’s what Pike Trail is all about: Gear up, Get out, Go strong. Just like MJ!

John Keller

What do you get when you combine twenty years of experience in banking and a passion for the outdoors? You get John Keller, Pike Trail’s Chief Financial Strategist and Product Integrity Specialist. John is a native Missouri son who grew up hunting whitetail bucks deep in the Ozark mountains and harvesting waterfowl along the marshy banks of the Missouri River. Whether hiking through dense woodland to scout the perfect spot for his tree stand or navigating a Cattail forest to set his Mallard decoys, John demands gear that works as hard as he does. He brings that same passion for precision and excellence to the Pike Trail team. Look closely and you can see John’s commitment to conservation, dedication to quality, and love of the outdoors in every single Pike Trail product. John wouldn’t have it any other way.

Rob Murray

Rob has spent his entire life in the outdoors hunting, fishing, and enjoying activities such as water and snow skiing, scuba diving, hiking, mountain biking and camping. He is a Christian and considers himself closest to his Creator when outside. He is married with two grown children, Caleb (24) and Emily (22). His wife Debbie is also a lover of the outdoors and shares his passion for all of the above. When not in Missouri you can typically find him and his family in Florida in the summer searching out new reefs and Colorado in the winter skiing the slopes.

Paulene Williams

Paulene is from California - loves alpine climbing and spends her weekends bagging peaks at California’s snow-capped mountains just for fun, well, sort of. She is a top-ranking age group triathlete who has represented the USA in four (count them) Ironman 70.3 World Championships (most recently August 26, 2023 Ironman 70.3 Lahti, Finland). She is ranked in the top 1% of the world. Additionally, she is a 2x Boston Marathon runner and 3x State TTT Champ. Mountaineering plays a crucial role for her training regimen. She relies on outdoor gear for safety and executing demanding training exercises. 

Paulene is a gear tester and outdoor project contributor for Pike Trail. She has offered her insights for creation, functionality, durability and comfort for Pike Trail's leg and ankle (running gaiters), waterproof socks and ultralight trekking poles.

Paulene recently summited Mt Kilimanjaro and is raising money through her charity, Working Dogs for Warrior. Serving those who serve... that’s her mission. And with Pike Trail, her love for the great outdoors and her passion to serve our vets are perfectly matched.

We hope you choose us on your search for hiking gear companies. 

See you on the trail.