Push yourself to experience the great outdoors with the MetroParks Trails Challenge

A short leisurely walk or a long challenging hike, an adrenaline-pumping mountain bike ride or a relaxing paddling excursion — the Five Rivers MetroParks Trails Challenge includes a variety of options for outdoor enthusiasts.

The MetroParks Trails Challenge, in its fifth year, was created to encourage people to explore the region’s trails and stay active outdoors on their own time and at their own pace. More than 1,100 outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities participated in 2023.

“Some people struggle with organized events, being at a certain place at a certain time,” said Jordan Hart, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “You can participate in the challenge at your own pace and go out at a time that works best for you. Or get a small group together and check off the trails together.”

Trails Challenge basics

The 2024 Trails Challenge includes 28 trails and runs from February 1 through October 31.

Trails vary in length from the half-mile Heart Healthy Trail at Island MetroPark to the 6-mile Great Miami River Trail that begins at the same park.

“You can start small, with several trails under a mile, and work your way up to longer and more challenging hikes,” Hart said. “And you can do them in any order.”

Eight of the 28 trails are paved while 14 are natural surfaces making the challenge accessible for all ages and abilities.

And the challenge isn’t just for hikers as the paved trails are also accessible to cyclists. There are also three MoMBA mountain bike trails at Huffman MetroPark and two paddling trails – starting at Aullwood Garden and the Germantown Dam – as well as one horse trail at Carriage Hill MetroPark.

“It gives people the opportunity to explore places and parks they’ve never visited,” Hart said.

In it to win it

Participants don’t need to complete all 28 trails to be eligible for prizes.

Each completed trail qualifies the participant for an entry into the prize drawing - 28 trails means 28 chances to win. And everyone who completes at least 18 trails will receive a MetroParks Trails Challenge sticker and be eligible to win a 2024 Trails Challenge T-shirt.

Youth participants, 14 and younger, who complete just one trail will be entered to win a Kid’s Adventure Pack, packed with outdoor gear. Young participants will receive one entry for each trail they complete.

Participants can download the free MetroParks mobile app at www.metroparks.org/five-rivers-metroparks-mobile-app/ to track their progress or download and print a paper log available on the MetroParks website and submit it before the end of the challenge (www.metroparks.org/metroparks-trails-challenge/).

Beyond the prizes, the real reward of the challenge is the opportunity to connect with nature and adopt an active outdoor lifestyle.

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