Spending time outdoors is fun, but sometimes we need to add a new, interesting element to the experience to stay motivated. One of the easiest ways to get yourself moving is to do some hiking, so why not try a hiking challenge or two?
These exciting challenges are a great way to get outside and take in a variety of scenery — they might even lead you to places you’ve never been before. If you decide to embark on any of these adventures, remember to leave no trace. And don't forget to take safety precautions even on trails you've experienced before!
If you’re in the Midwest, start with the 1966 hiking challenge.
For those living near Indiana Dunes National Park, the 1966 challenge is a must. As its name implies, visitors have to hike 19 trails — which cover 66 miles — to complete the adventure, according to the National Park Service (NPS). To earn the free sticker, you must finish all 19 hikes between May and September!
To make your journey easier, the NPS created a list of every hike, including information on mileage, difficulty level, and the location of the trailhead. You don’t have to go alone either — there’s a ranger-led hike every weekend.
You could attempt Diana’s Dare too.
If you’ve already completed the 1966 challenge, you can give Diana’s Dare a try. The tale began when Alice Mabel Gray, better known as Diana of the Dunes, decided to move to the Indiana Dunes and live alone in the wild. You’ll have to embark on the journey yourself to learn the rest of the story.
On this 1 mile trail, hikers will follow in Diana’s footsteps and enjoy fantastic views of the dunes and Lake Michigan. This is a nice option for those looking for a quick, rewarding challenge. Don’t forget to pick up your free sticker at the visitor center!
Check out the Great 8 Challenge in the Adirondack Region.
The Great 8 Challenge is a wonderful way to experience the Adirondacks. There are even three different versions: Riverside Run, Nature Nuts, and Waterfall Crawl. You can tailor your adventure based on the type of scenery you like best.
Explorers can view rocky rivers along Stone Valley Trail, vibrant foliage on Edwards Nature Trail, or beautiful cascades at Rainbow Falls — it’s totally up to you. After logging your trails online, you will receive a digital badge of completion. You could also earn badges for logging your first trail, completing five hikes in the spring, and tracking over 26 miles.
The WNY hiking challenge gives you the perfect reason to get outside this summer.
New York is full of outdoor gems, and there’s no better way to see them all than by joining the Western New York Hiking Challenge. According to Outside Chronicles, they designed the quest to inspire people to go outside and learn about the parks’ history.
Between May and November, participants must hike ten trails from the West and the East groups. It’s also required to complete at least three stewardship tasks while on the trails — this could mean picking up trash, participating in a community event, or simply introducing a friend to hiking.
There is a small registration fee, but the proceeds go toward the Beaver Meadow Nature Center, Buffalo Audubon Society, and Earth Spirit.
Try the Badlands hiking challenge in Oregon.
The Pacific Northwest is home to the rugged terrain of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness. This area is full of lava flows, juniper trees, desert wildflowers, unique rock formations, and cultural artifacts — there’s truly an endless number of sights to see.
Do you have what it takes to hike over 50 miles in the Badlands? You can give the Badlands Challenge your best shot to find out. All you have to do is register for free, log your miles, learn about the area, snap a few photos, and then celebrate your big accomplishment.
Hike for a good cause and join the Six-Pack of Peaks challenge in SoCal.
The Six-Pack of Peaks is a self-paced hiking challenge that allows you to traverse new areas and test your limits. In SoCal, participants must hike at least six mountains to finish the task. However, you can always go above and beyond the original parameters.
Not only is the $50 registration fee put toward some cool souvenirs, but it’s also going to great nonprofits like The Heroes Project and Leave No Trace. If you already plan on hiking this year, it might as well be for a good cause.
The Lookout Tower Challenge is a great way to see the mountains.
Nothing beats a good lookout tower. The views are fantastic, and the journey to the top is usually just as great. If you’re in North Carolina, the Lookout Tower Challenge is a fun way to explore 22 different fire towers while taking in panoramic mountain views and learning some history.
This challenge will take you to the Nantahala National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains, Highlands, and more. You might even be lucky enough to see some waterfalls and wildlife during your adventures. It’s only $15 to register!
Hike the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park.
In Bryce Canyon National Park, visitors can Hike the Hoodoos. To complete this task, you must hike at least 3 miles on the designated trails and discover the different survey markers — everyone that Hikes the Hoodoos will receive a reward. This is the perfect activity for families with young children.
According to the NPS, it’s possible to find all nine benchmarks, though it will require about 18 miles of hiking. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s worth the extra effort. Bryce Canyon offers a unique atmosphere and breathtaking hikes; it’s one of those places you just have to visit.
You can do the 365-mile hiking challenge anywhere.
You don't have to miss out on the fun if you don’t live near any of these specific challenges. The 365-mile hiking challenge allows you to participate whenever and wherever you desire. Here’s the best part: You don’t even have to hike. Walking, running, biking, swimming, and even paddling can count too.
For a few extra perks, you can register for a small fee, but it’s not necessary — this challenge is possible without paying a dime. You can track your miles and celebrate in a way that’s unique to you.