North Country Trail Hike 100 Challenge Returns For Ninth Year

North Country Trail Hike 100 Challenge Returns For Ninth Year

North Country Trail Hike 100 Challenege Awards

The North Country Trail Association first introduced the Hike 100 Challenge in 2016 and it has proven to be a great program for getting people outside and hiking on one of our favorite trails. Covering 4,800 miles and passing through eight states, the North Country Trail recently received a status upgrade to National Park. Michigan is home to more miles on the North Country Trail than any other state (1,100 +) and every year the goal is to move more miles of this trail off of the road and into nature. Michigan has more than 880 off-road NCT miles and another 290 miles of the NCT that follows roadways. Today we will take a look at the North Country Trail in Michigan and look at everything you need to know for a successful Hike 100 Challenge.

North Country Trail Battle Creek Historic Bridge Park

Lowell is home to the North Country Trail Association headquarters and other Michigan “trail towns” include Middleville, Marquette, Grand Marais, White Cloud, Kalkaska, Albion, Marshall, Battle Creek, Augusta, Litchfield, Fife Lake, Petoskey, Mackinaw City, and St. Ignace. The North Country Trail goes through all three national forests in Michigan and also passes through many of our state parks. A few of our favorite segments are Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail, the Black River Scenic Byway, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and Fallasburg Park in Lowell.

Signing up for the Hike 100 Challenge is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. You’ll get email updates, a downloadable mileage tracker like the one shown above, and more. Miles do not have to be unique so you can walk your favorite mile 100 times or your favorite five mile loop 20 times or any combination of miles that gets you to 100. We always like to have fun with it and make sure we log at least 20 miles of “new to us” trail each year.

North Country Trail Hike 100 2024 Patch

Those who finish the Hike 100 Challenge receive a commemorative patch (next year’s design shown above) and a finisher’s certificate. Pets can earn collar tags, and children are also eligible for patches and certificates (just log them as a separate finisher after completion).

North Country Trail Sign Michigan

Here are some of our tips for a successful Hike 100 Challenge:

Start early – Don’t plan on knocking out all 100 miles in the summer. Try and get at least 25 miles in from January to March to set yourself up for success in the warmer months.

Knock out some easy miles – Yes this is a great trail for some true wilderness hiking, but some days you may not want to take a bunch of gear or get a crazy workout. There are several great paved sections of this trail that can help on days where you don’t have a ton of time or are battling uncooperative weather.

Take a trail map along for longer wilderness segments – It might be 2024, but there are still spots on this trail where you will not have cell phone service. Take a paper trail map along and plan ahead!

North Country Trail Fence Fall Color MI

Plan for any weather – In Michigan we know you can sometimes experience the weather of four seasons in one day and this can be very true when hiking. Don’t forget the bug spray, either.

Wear good shoes or boots – Sturdy, comfortable footwear is vital to a successful North Country Trail experience. Some of the most fun segments of the trail can also be a bit challenging and the best hikes are the ones where you come back in the same shape you headed out in!

Get involved with a trail community event – The NCTA frequently posts group hike information, volunteer opportunities, and more. What better way to get some miles in than with others who enjoy and appreciate the trail as much as you do?