Choose your own hiking trail adventure

Twin Valley Trail Challenge set for Sept. 25

Wooded footpaths and scenic meadows, dirt trails and paved paths, challenging hilly terrain and easy flat straightaways – the Twin Valley Trail has it all.

After a year hiatus, the Twin Valley Trail Challenge is back – a challenge of each hiker’s own design. The event, usually held in June, is slated for Sept. 25.

“One of my favorite things about the TVT Challenge is that you get to choose the distance you want to challenge yourself to hike,” said Angie Sheldon, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “We will have six different routes marked where you can choose your own adventure of one, 10, 12, 14, 22 or the full 28.7 miles.”

The free MetroParks event is being sponsored by the Dayton Hikers, the group that originated the event in 2013.

“We’re thrilled to have the TVT Challenge back,” said Andy Niekamp, Dayton Hikers founder. “It’s such a great event for beginners, experienced hikers and anyone in between.”

While the complete trail totals 28.7 miles – winding through Germantown and Twin Creek MetroParks as well as the connector trail – hikers can trek as little or as long as they would like. This year’s TVT Challenge includes the new 2.3-mile extension of the Germantown MetroPark’s orange trail.

“And if you don’t quite make it as far as you were hoping, we’ll have shuttles available to get you back to the start,” Sheldon said. “We will also have four water and aid stations along the route to help you stay fueled for the challenge.”

Holding the event in September adds an additional challenge to the already challenging hike.

“With less daylight, there’s a good chance you’ll be starting or finishing your hike in the dark,” Sheldon said. “We are recommending that everyone bring a headlamp.”

Day-of registration is open from 5:30 a.m. until noon at the Twin Valley Welcome Center in Germantown MetroPark. Niekamp suggests getting started early.

“A fast hiker could finish in eight hours, but a more typical time is between 10 and 12 hours,” he said.

The fun doesn’t end with the hike as there will be a post-challenge cookout on Saturday. Free camping at Germantown MetroPark is also an option both Friday and Saturday night. Online registration for camping can be found at

“After having to cancel last year and then delaying earlier this year, it will be awesome to get people out together, hiking in the beautiful Twin Valley,” Sheldon said.

And whether it’s a mile or the full 28.7 miles, the challenge is up to you.

“It’s an incredibly rewarding experience when you challenge yourself and achieve it,” Niekamp said.

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