8 Hiking Challenges to Take You Further

hikeSpan­ning from region­al peak-bag­ging lists to world-wide sup­port­ive com­mu­ni­ties striv­ing for a com­mon hik­ing goal, hik­ing chal­lenges across the coun­try encour­age extra explor­ing. From name-brand adven­tures like the Six-Pack of Peaks to col­or­ful patch­es for com­plet­ing chal­lenges like the Car­oli­na Moun­tain Club Water­fall Chal­lenge– the only com­pe­ti­tion involved with the best hik­ing chal­lenges is the one against your­self. With a base­line denom­i­na­tor of hik­ing more and expe­ri­enc­ing more rich­ness in life, why not chal­lenge your­self to hike a lit­tle fur­ther.

1. Six-Pack of Peaks Chal­lenge
Par­tic­i­pants who reg­is­ter for any offi­cial Six-Pack of Peaks Chal­lenge receive route advice and access to an encour­ag­ing online com­mu­ni­ty. After sign­ing up, par­tic­i­pants strive to bag six des­ig­nat­ed peaks in the region they choose with­in a des­ig­nat­ed cal­en­dar span. With part of the pro­ceeds going towards the non-prof­it Big City Moun­taineers, it’s not only the par­tic­i­pants that ben­e­fit from tak­ing up the chal­lenge.

The orig­i­nal Six-Pack of Peaks Chal­lenge was cen­tered in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, with the Six-Pack includ­ing icon­ic sum­mits like Mount San Jac­in­to and Mount Baldy (a.k.a. Mount San Anto­nio). The chal­lenge has spread far in the last five years, how­ev­er, with new chal­lenges in Cen­tral Ore­gon, New Eng­land, and both Ari­zona in the win­ter and Ari­zona in the sum­mer. Future Six-Pack of Peaks Chal­lenges is head­ed to the Pacif­ic North­west and Utah.

National Park Hike2. The 52 Hike Chal­lenge
An inspir­ing online-based hik­ing chal­lenge that encour­ages par­tic­i­pants to hike once a week for an entire year, the orig­i­nal 52 Hike Chal­lenge offers free sup­port and access to com­mu­ni­ty logs. Great for that extra moti­va­tion need­ed to get out­side, those look­ing to sign up for the 52 Hike Chal­lenge can also buy in to receive patch­es and medals upon the chal­lenge com­ple­tion. The orga­ni­za­tion behind the chal­lenge also puts on numer­ous com­mu­ni­ty events aimed towards max­i­miz­ing your trail expe­ri­ence.

3. AMC Four Thou­sand Foot­er Club
Also known as the 4K Club, this 60-plus-year-old set of hik­ing chal­lenges is run by the Appalachi­an Moun­tain Club (AMC). The first AMC list to aim towards is The White Moun­tain Four Thou­sand Foot­ers. Hik­ers need to bag all 48 of these New Hamp­shire peaks to get on the finisher’s ros­ter.

From there, the AMC also spon­sors the New Eng­land Four Thou­sand Foot­ers and the New Eng­land Hun­dred High­est. For the ulti­mate goal, the North­east 111 Club is a cov­et­ed group only for those who climb all peaks in the North­east­ern Unit­ed States over 4,000-feet-tall.

4. Car­oli­na Moun­tain Club Water­fall Chal­lenge
The Car­oli­na Moun­tain Club has come up with a list of 100 water­falls that are well worth a vis­it. While it’s hard to quan­ti­fy what makes any one water­fall “the best”, the list from the Car­oli­na Moun­tain Club ensures a wide range of adven­tures if you try to see them all. The col­or­ful “WC100” patch for com­plet­ing the chal­lenge is a mon­u­men­tal achieve­ment.

Appalachian Trail5. Fire Tow­er Chal­lenge
Spon­sored by the Adiron­dack Moun­tain Club, the Fire Tow­er Chal­lenge entails par­tic­i­pants mak­ing their way to the top of at least 23 fire tow­er sum­mits in the Adiron­dack and Catskill Moun­tains of New York. Climb­ing to the top of the actu­al fire tow­er is not manda­to­ry. At some sites, not legal to do so. If that doesn’t sound chal­leng­ing enough, a win­ter ver­sion of the full-col­or patch is avail­able between Decem­ber and March.

6. Tahoe Rim Chal­lenge
Open to hik­ers, moun­tain bik­ers and eques­tri­ans, the Tahoe Rim Chal­lenge offers six annu­al chal­lenge routes. They each explore some of the best trails that Lake Tahoe has to offer. Par­tic­i­pants choose between sign­ing up as a Trail-Blaz­er or Trail-Explor­er, with lengths of the chal­lenge routes vary­ing between the two. From the Frogs and Falls Chal­lenge to the Lake Tahoe Vista Chal­lenge, every route around the Tahoe Rim offers rea­son enough to get out­side.

7. 365 Mile Chal­lenge
A pay-to-play hik­ing chal­lenge that pro­vides com­mu­ni­ty sup­port towards the goal of trekking a one-mile hike every day of the year. It doesn’t just have to be hik­ing to com­plete the 365 Mile chal­lenge, and any self-pro­pelled mile will do. Dif­fer­ent mem­ber­ships lev­els for the 365 Mile Chal­lenge include dif­fer­ent amounts of swag and gear. All mem­bers receive access to the pos­i­tive-encour­age­ment-only pri­vate Face­book group of this goal-set­ting orga­ni­za­tion. All par­tic­i­pat­ing chal­lengers also receive entry into spon­sored give­aways.

8. “Hike the Hoodoos!” Chal­lenge
With­in Bryce Canyon Nation­al Park in south­ern Utah, “Hike the Hoodoos!” is a great chal­lenge for kids and those who like to be out­side. The task is to trek at least three miles with­in the park along spec­i­fied trails. All the while col­lect­ing spe­cial “Hike the Hoodoos” bench­marks along the way. For a hearti­er chal­lenge, a total of nine bench­marks can be col­lect­ed, tak­ing at least 18-miles of hik­ing to accom­plish.