Enjoy nature and get rewarded for it through trails challenge

Hike, bike, run or paddle the designated trails on your own time, at your own pace

What could be better than a peaceful hike, a scenic bike ride, a heart-pounding trail run or a leisurely afternoon of paddling? How about winning a prize for doing it?

The MetroParks Trails Challenge is a fun way to explore the many miles of recreational trails in the area and be rewarded for doing what you love. There is also the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing the challenge and the fun of doing it with friends and family.

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“The great thing about the challenge is that you can do it on your own time and at your own pace,” said Angie Sheldon, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator.

And, because participants explore the trails on their own schedule, it’s easy to practice safe social distancing while participating in the challenge.

There is plenty of variety as the Five Rivers MetroParks are home to 160 miles of paved and natural surface trails. The area also has miles of scenic waterways. The Trails Challenge is a fun way to explore them all. The MetroParks’ outdoor recreation team selected 25 trails, varying in mileage and difficulty, that participants can hike, walk, bike, jog, run or paddle.

“We wanted to make sure the challenge represented all of our trails,” Sheldon said. “And, hopefully, it will take people to new places — places they’ve never been to before.”

Getting started

Participating in the MetroParks Trails Challenge is easy. Simply download the MetroParks Trails Challenge brochure at www.metroparks.org/metroparks-trails-challenge/ to review the list of designated trails, ways to win cool prizes and how to register for additional challenges.

Hike, bike, run or paddle the designated trails in any order and at your convenience and track your progress on the trails log. The challenge is open to all ages so the kids can keep their own trail log and join in the fun. Hiking trails range in length from 1.3 miles — the orange trail at Sugarcreek — to 7.5 miles at Germantown MetroPark.

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There are 25 challenges on the trail log, but there will also be additional pop-up challenges. To receive emails about pop-up challenges and the chance to win additional prizes, sign up for the Five Rivers MetroParks' monthly outdoor recreation email at www.metroparks.org/?newsletter-email.

Getting rewarded

Combining fun and fitness, the MetroParks Trails Challenge is a perfect way to improve your physical and mental health while connecting with nature. There is, however, also a sense of accomplishment and, possibly, a prize if you submit your trail log and entry form no later than Oct. 4.

Complete just one trail and you’ll be entered to win a $100 gift card to a local outdoor gear or bike shop of your choice. Complete all 25 trails and get 25 chances to win, even more with the pop-up challenges.

Everyone who completes at least 18 trails will receive a MetroParks Trails Challenge sticker. And 100 people completing at least 18 trails will be selected at random to receive a MetroParks Trails Challenge T-shirt.

“We started planning this six months ago but, with everything that’s happened in recent months, we knew we needed to make this happen — it’s the perfect time to get out,” Sheldon said. “We’re hoping to make it an annual event.”

To learn more about MetroParks Trail Challenge visit www.metroparks.org/metroparks-trails-challenge/.

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