The Trail Challenge is back with 28 area trails to conquer to win prizes

Here’s a look at an autumn walk at Serpent Mound near Peebles, Ohio, the world’s largest effigy mound, built by an unknown ancient American Indian culture. Visitors can learn more about the Serpent Mound and neighboring burial mounds at the onsite museum. An observation tower, built in 1908, provides a breathtaking view of the mound. The Ohio Brush Creek Nature Trail loops hikers around and below the mound and features views of rock outcrops. Even though the site is closed for the winter season, there will be special Winter Solstice hours on Sunday, December 20, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The grounds will be open though the museum/gift shop will remain closed. March 5, 2021 is the scheduled reopening date for the site. TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Here’s a look at an autumn walk at Serpent Mound near Peebles, Ohio, the world’s largest effigy mound, built by an unknown ancient American Indian culture. Visitors can learn more about the Serpent Mound and neighboring burial mounds at the onsite museum. An observation tower, built in 1908, provides a breathtaking view of the mound. The Ohio Brush Creek Nature Trail loops hikers around and below the mound and features views of rock outcrops. Even though the site is closed for the winter season, there will be special Winter Solstice hours on Sunday, December 20, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The grounds will be open though the museum/gift shop will remain closed. March 5, 2021 is the scheduled reopening date for the site. TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Five Rivers MetroParks is bringing back for a second year its MetroParks Trails Challenge, re-imagined for 2021.

From now and running through Oct. 31, this year’s challenge will give participants more time to complete their hikes. This year, there are 28 trails for hiking, walking, cycling, paddling, running, mountain biking and horseback riding to check off and become eligible to win prizes.

“Because participants explore the trails on their own time and their own way, it’s easy to practice safe social-distancing while participating,” said Randy Ryberg, MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “The MetroParks Trails Challenge is a convenient way to improve your physical and mental health while connecting with nature and enjoying an active lifestyle.”

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Last year, more than 900 people registered for the first-ever Trail Challenge, with participants completing more than 4,000 miles of human-powered travel, according to a Five Rivers MetroParks officials. That’s longer than the Amazon River.

The 2020 Trail Challenge was introduced in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, and it encouraged people to get outside and get some sun, while following health and safety guidelines.

In total, Five Rivers MetroParks locations are home to 160 miles of natural-surface trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The greater Dayton region is home to more than 340 miles of paved trails — touted as the nation’s largest paved-trail network.

This year’s trail challenge represents a chance to venture off the usual path or to discover a new favorite trail or park.

To participate, visit metroparks.org/metroparks-trails-challenge to register and access the 2021 MetroParks Trails Log to learn more about the challenges. Printable trail logs allow each member of the family to track progress.

Here’s how to win prizes:

  • Complete one trail in the challenge to be entered to win a $100 gift card to a local outdoor gear or bike shop of your choosing. Participants will receive one entry for each trail completed. Complete all 28 trails, get 28 chances to win.
  • Everyone who completes at least 18 trails will receive a MetroParks Trails Challenge sticker. Also, 100 people completing at least 18 trails will be selected at random to receive a MetroParks Trails Challenge T-shirt.
  • New for 2021: Everyone who completes one mountain-bike trail will be entered to win a Huffy Mountain Bike. You will receive one entry for each mountain bike trail completed. Complete all three trails and get three chances to win.
  • New for 2021: Youth ages 14 and younger who complete one trail will be entered to win a Kids Adventure Pack, which includes outdoor gear. Participants will receive one entry for each trail they complete. Complete all 28 trails, get 28 chances to win.

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