GET ACTIVE: Time for adventure in the Five Rivers MetroParks Trails Challenge

Walking, hiking, pedaling or paddling, the Mitchell family is always up for an adventure.

“I think everyone can use movement and all movement is good movement,” Joe Mitchell said.

Mitchell and his 9-year-old twin daughters, Ashley and Sophia, were a few of the more than 550 participants who completed activity logs in the 2022 Five Rivers MetroParks Trails Challenge. Participants – ranging in age from 2 to 77 – completed 5,348 trails totaling close to 8,500 miles.

The challenge was launched in 2020. This year’s iteration, which began Feb. 1, offers trails to explore by foot, bike, kayak or horse.

“The Trails Challenge is meant to inspire people of all ages and skill levels to explore parks and trails they might not otherwise visit,” said Jordan Hart, MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “A challenge can sound intimidating but there really is something for everyone.”

Credit: Jessica Hansbauer; Jan Underwood

Credit: Jessica Hansbauer; Jan Underwood

There are 28 challenges ranging from a short walk along the Garden Path at Aullwood Garden MetroPark (.8 miles) to a more challenging Green Trail hike at Englewood MetroPark (3.8. miles). For those who prefer mountain biking, there are three MetroParks Mountain Biking Area (MoMBA) trails. River and horseback trails are also included, and participants can explore the trails on their own time and at their own pace.

Participants have until Oct. 31 to check off as many of the 28 trails as they wish to complete for a chance to win prizes. It might not take that long as the Mitchell family didn’t even start their adventure last year until August, completing 20 of the 28 challenges.

“This got us out to parks we had never been to before,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t even know about the mountain bike trails.”

The Spring Valley family may soon become MoMBA regulars as Ashley won the Trails Challenge grand prize last year – a Huffy Bicycles mountain bike – and gifted it to her dad as both she and her sister already had mountain bikes.

“I never dreamed we would win the prize, but we did need a bike,” Mitchell said with a smile.

Participants who complete just one trail in the challenge will be entered to win a $100 gift card to a local outdoor gear or bike shop of their choosing. Complete all 28 trails and get 28 chances to win. Youth participants 14 and younger who complete just one trail will be entered to win a Kids Adventure Pack as well as an entry for each trail they complete. Everyone who completes at least 18 trails will receive a MetroParks Trails Challenge sticker and 100 of them will be selected at random to receive a MetroParks Trails Challenge T-shirt.

Participation is free. Register at

Five Rivers MetroParks Trails Challenge

How to participate:

  • Visit to register, access the 2023 MetroParks Trails Log and learn more about the trails challenge.
  • Hike, bike, ride, paddle or horseback ride the designated trails — in any order and at your own convenience. Use the MetroParks mobile app to learn more about the individual challenges. Those who have not yet downloaded the app can do so for free by visiting
  • Track your progress on the printable trails log. Everyone can participate, including children. Those who wish to use the mobile app to track their progress can do so, as well.
  • Submit your trails log no later than Oct. 31 at to be eligible to receive prizes.

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