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Trail Challenge

Get ready for a hiking experience unlike any other!  

We are thrilled to welcome you to the KMTA Trail Challenge, taking place from June 28th to September 30th. Prepare to explore the KMTA hiking trails and embark on a journey filled with adventure, connection with nature, and support for a worthy cause. 

The Trail Challenge is not just a regular hiking event; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of our National Heritage Area, while also expanding access to trail-based outdoor learning for kids. We invite outdoor enthusiasts from all backgrounds and skill levels to join us! 

Hike, Climb, & Compete

Participants will challenge themselves to hike a specific number of trails in the National Heritage Area. But that’s not all! You can also compete for top total elevation gained and mileage completed throughout the event. Share your hikes with us by snapping some selfies and tagging us on social media and have a chance at winning some awesome swag from local sponsors.

Embrace Local Businesses

Discover and support the trail-adjacent communities and businesses that make KMTA hiking experiences even more memorable. Don’t forget to tag KMTA and our sponsors in your social media photos taken at these establishments. By doing so, you’ll have even a better chance to win some awesome giveaways throughout the challenge.  

Foster Stewardship & Learning

We encourage participants to pack out any trash they find on the trails they hike. By tagging us in photos of your cleanup efforts, you’ll have extra entries for our periodic giveaway drawings. Additionally, join us on KMTA’s social media for historical trivia and connect with us at pop-up events at trailheads. There, you can learn more about current trail conditions, stewardship practices, and sustainable trail usage. We will keep you posted as dates and locations for our trailhead pop ups are finalized.  

Empowering Outdoor Education

When you sign up for this challenge, you will be supporting KMTA’s efforts to expand access to inclusive, trail-based education for Alaskan youth. Discover more about the purpose of our fundraising goal below! 

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TRAIL CHALLENGE DIRECTIONS

STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR CHALLENGE

The first step in your journey is to choose the number of trails you want to challenge yourself to hike throughout the KMTA National Heritage Area. Select the challenge that’s right for you when you register at our race page on RunSignUp. And guess what? By registering, you’ll also score some awesome swag including a custom-designed Trail Challenge hat, water bottle, and sticker (photos coming soon)! We’ll keep you updated on when our swag shipments are expected to arrive, and will organize a series of swag pickup days at various locations.  

STEP 2: TREK & LOG

As you conquer those trails, log your adventures on RunSignUp. Include your elevation, distance, and write the name of the trail(s) you completed in the comments section of your activity log. Any named trail in the KMTA National Heritage Area counts, regardless of whether or not it is featured in our AllTrails 2023 KMTA Trail Challenge list or our Trail Challenge Guide. If you do not know the elevation or distance of the trail you hiked, you can look it up in AllTrails to find that information. 

How to Log Your Hikes in RunSignUp: 

• Please go to the results page by clicking here.

At the top of the screen, you will see a box with the following statement: “Post Virtual Results! This race has virtual events. If you completed a virtual event, please submit your results here.” To proceed, click on the blue box labeled “Submit Virtual Results.”

You will be asked to provide the participant’s name. Enter your name and click on the black button labeled “Lookup Registration.”

Locate your name in the list and click on the blue button that states “Log Activities.”

On the next screen, you will be prompted to enter either your email address or the last four digits of the phone number you used during registration. To authorize, click the corresponding button.

You can now enter your results. Please make sure to include the name of the trail you hiked in the comments section. Once submitted, they will be reviewed and approved by KMTA Staff. Note: You can upload activities from a file such as a smart watch (top right corner of the window) and you can “Add Another Activity” before submitting results to add more than 1 hike.

How to Use All Trails List: Click here to view the 2023 KMTA Trail Challenge list we created in AllTrails. You can use the filter to choose trails by level of difficulty, length, etc. Keep in mind, this is an incomplete list of Trail Challenge eligible trails in the Heritage Area. Some trails aren’t listed in AllTrails at all, while others we chose not to include in our list given the current trail conditions, safety concerns, or other relevant info. 

STEP 3: LOG REVIEW

The KMTA team will review your activity logs as they are submitted. Your elevation and mileage will automatically update in the RunSignUp leaderboard. We will manually add your completed hikes to our custom spreadsheet, where we’ll keep track of your unique hike count and progress towards your challenge goal. This is why it is important to name the trails you hiked in the comments section of your activity log. 

STEP 4: STAY IN THE LOOP

Every week, we’ll keep you updated on Trail Challenge progress and results by posting an updated trail count spreadsheet on our website. Watch as the RunSignUp leaderboard automatically updates with distance and elevation gain tracking, once we approve your logs. This is why it is important to name the trails you hiked in the comments section of your activity log. You can find the RunSignUp Leaderboard and Custom Hike Count Leaderboard in the section below.

STEP 5: HIKE, SNAP & WIN

We are incredibly lucky to have some fantastic sponsors supporting the Challenge this year, and we want to express our gratitude by inviting you to check out their businesses during your trekking adventures. We encourage all participants to take fun selfies during your hikes, when you visit one of our sponsors, and even of any cleanup efforts you engage in while on the trails. If you see some trash on your hike, please pack it out and help keep our trails beautiful!   

Throughout the event, we will have random prize drawings for participants who tag us and our sponsors in those selfies on social media, and occasionally we will feature these tagged photos on our social channels!  The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning!  Don’t have a social media account? No problem! You can also upload your trail photos here instead if you like. 

STEP 6: CELEBRATE!

We can’t wait to celebrate your accomplishments at our post-Trail Challenge event in October (location TBD). This is where we’ll announce the winners who covered the most elevation and completed the greatest number of miles. We’ll also share our fundraising results and your direct impact on helping us expand access to trail-based outdoor learning for Alaskan youth. 

Photo Credits: Clark Fair (Header) and Jeff Samuels (Above).

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Our Why

By participating in the Trail Challenge, you’re not only going on an outdoor adventure in our National Heritage Area, but you’re also making a difference. Your involvement directly contributes to our fundraising efforts to support trail-based outdoor learning for Alaskan youth. 

We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy our extensive trail systems and outdoor spaces. In fact, KMTA has invested over $410,000 to date to preserve the integrity of our trails, and we are now working hard to make them more accessible. Trails are a part of our living heritage, and we focus on building future public lands stewards who will advocate for them and the outdoor spaces they’re in through our youth outdoor education programs.  

However, the lack of affordable and reliable transportation remains a significant barrier to accessing the full range of trail-related experiences in Southcentral Alaska. Rising fuel costs, long travel distances, budget deficits, and expensive bus rental fees often make these opportunities unattainable for many families and kids. That’s why we’re raising funds through this year’s Trail Challenge to help support the purchase of a passenger van that would help us connect more people—especially local youth—to our trail systems and enriching outdoor learning experiences. We firmly believe in the transformative power of spending time outside. With your help, we can ensure more kids have access to those benefits through inclusive, trail-based learning. 

Leaderboard

Below you will find links to the leaderboards. You will notice that your elevation and mileage automatically update on the RunSignUp website – you can find it at the link below. The KMTA team will manually add your completed hikes to our custom spreadsheet, where we’ll track your unique hike count and monitor your progress toward your challenge goal. That’s why it’s crucial to mention the names of the trails you hiked in the comments section of your activity log. The link below will be updated weekly. Happy hiking! 

Sponsors

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