The MetroParks Trails Challenge is back for 2021, with new trails and more time in which to complete them. Starting Feb. 1 and running through Oct. 31, participants can check off 28 trails for hiking, walking, cycling, paddling, running, mountain biking and even horseback riding.
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 — the nation’s largest paved trail network — and 270 miles of river corridor.
More than 900 people registered for the inaugural 2020 MetroParks Trails Challenge, with participants completing more than 4,000 miles of human-powered travel — that’s longer than the Amazon River.
“Because participants explore the trails on their own time and in 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.”
How to participate:
- Visit www.metroparks.org/trailschallenge to register, access the 2021 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 theMetroParks mobile app to learn more about the individual challenges. Those who have not yet downloaded the app can do so for free by visiting www.metroparks.org/mobile.
- Track your progress on the printable trails log. Everyone can participate — including children.
- Submit your trails log no later than Oct. 31 to be eligible to receive prizes.
How to win prizes:
- Complete just one trail in the challenge, and you’ll be entered to win a $100 gift card to a local outdoor gear or bike shop of your choosing. You’ll receive one entry for each trail you complete. Complete all 28 trails and get 28 chances to win.
- New for 2021, youth ages 14 and younger who complete just one trail will be entered to win a Kids Adventure Pack, which includes cool outdoor gear. Youth also will receive one entry for each trail they complete.
- Also new this year, everyone who completes just one mountain bike trail will be entered to win a Huffy Mountain Bike. Participants will receive one entry for each mountain bike trail completed. Complete all three trails and get three 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.
- Winners be notified by e-mail or phone. Prizes will be distributed after Oct. 31.
How to plan ahead:
- Some of the trails in the challenge are segments of larger trails, so participants may have to hike, bike or shuttle back to their starting point. Other trails included are loops, starting and ending at the same point.
- Some of the trails require special gear, such as a mountain bike or kayak, but participants can walk, hike, run or jog 21 of the 28 trails.
- Participants must use necessary safety equipment, including a helmet and lifejacket, during their adventures.
- Some park and trail amenities, such as water fountains, remain closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Please visit www.metroparks.org/covid to learn which amenities are closed.
- Check the status of trails at MetroParks’ alerts page (metroparks.org/alerts), the Miami Conservancy District’s Trail Conditions page and the Miami Valley Trails’ alerts page.
Participants and Five Rivers MetroParks visitors should always follow the CDC’s recommendations, particularly for social distancing and wearing face coverings, while spending time outdoors.