Outbound Collective logo

Meet Nailah Blades Wylie, Founder of Color Outside

"Color Outside is about welcoming women of color to take up space in the outdoors...a place that's not traditionally for us."

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Nailah Blades Wylie, the founder of adventure travel brand Color Outside, radiates warmth. I can feel her welcoming spirit and gracious energy over the telephone, and I immediately wish we lived closer so we could be chatting over a cup of coffee instead of airwaves.

It doesn't surprise me, then, to hear that when Nailah posted a hike for women of color on Meetup in late 2016, a few more people showed up than she was expecting. "I thought, 'this will be just this little group,'" recalls Nailah, "and then lots of women started signing up."

The seed of the idea to host a hike started back in early 2016 when Nailah, her husband, and her infant daughter moved to Salt Lake City from Los Angeles. "It was a huge move, and I had a lot of transition going on in my life," remembers Nailah. "It left me feeling disconnected, like I was losing the core of who I was."

To ease the jolt of leaving behind friends and family in Los Angeles—where Nailah had lived since she was in grade school—she and her husband started to explore their new surroundings with hikes, snowshoes, and bike rides. "We decided to get out there and experience Utah. I have always loved the outdoors, but I wasn't an 'outdoorsy' person," she explains.

"On the trail, I noticed my stress and anxiety starting to lift, and saw glimpses of my old self," says Nailah. "I asked myself 'if I'm noticing things, are other women feeling the same way?'"

Nailah hadn't seen many women of color on the trails around Salt Lake City, so decided to host a hike and see if anyone wanted to join her. The response was a little bit overwhelming. "I wasn't anticipating so many women to be interested," she explains.

Those first few hikes in the foothills around Salt Lake City, and the community that was built from them, are part of the origin story of Color Outside, an adventure travel brand that encourages women of color to live ambitious, unapologetically joyous lives.

"The outdoors is the vehicle, and it resonates with people," says Nailah. "What I'm passionate about building community and bringing people together. I like to connect women with other people and resources that they need in their lives."

Through retreats, events, and workshops, Nailah has built a community of adventurous women of color who go on to make an impact in their own communities. The women learn not only to take up space outdoors but to take up space wherever they are. Color Outside's next retreat is in Moab, Utah from October 10-13.

"I love the energy that fosters when you connect women," says Nailah. "I tell women that as long as they are willing to try new things, they'll be fine at a Color Outside retreat or event. Everyone is welcome. You'll never be holding anyone back."

Our #EveryoneOutside initiative is dedicated to increasing diversity, promoting equity, and fostering inclusion in the outdoors. This effort is focused on elevating the profiles, work, and stories of marginalized athletes, leaders, organizations, and affinity groups, and empowering minority members of our community by increasing access to essential outdoor skills and activities. Learn more at Everyone Outside.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


10 Things you need to do in Baja

wyld honeys

Journey to Wyoming’s premier snowmobiling destination: Togwotee Mountain Lodge

Samuel Brockway

Hiking in comfort: a review of Danner Mountain 600 Evo boots

Meghan White

A peek through God's window

Heather Arnold