The North Country Trail Hike 100 Challenge Heads Into Sixth Year After Record Participation
Michigan has the most of a lot of things – we are blessed with the most freshwater coastline, the most lighthouses, and we also have the most miles of North Country Trail of any state. For a sixth consecutive year, in 2021 the North Country Trail Association invites everyone to get out and visit Michigan’s NCT segments as part of the Hike 100 Challenge. We’ve been part of this challenge four of the five years it has been offered, and while it is nice to get a commemorative patch and certificate after completion the real joy has come from finding new segments of the trail that we had never hiked before.
2020 saw a big upswing in outdoor recreation due to coronavirus restrictions, and the NCTA saw a record number of participants both join and complete the Hike 100 Challenge. More than 4,100 people signed up this year, and at least 1,700 have completed the challenge as of the November update in the Blue Blaze Bulletin. You can still complete the 2020 challenge (sign up is open until 12/23/20) and submit your finisher’s form by 2/1/2021 to receive a certificate and patch. Signup for the 2021 challenge went live on December 18th.
This challenge should be an easy one for most Michigan residents. We have close to 1,150 of the trail’s 4,600 total miles. The North Country Trail begins in South Dakota, then travels through Minnesota and Wisconsin before reaching Michigan. It passes through some of the Upper Peninsula’s best attractions (Porcupine Mountains, Pictured Rocks, Tahquamenon Falls) before heading into the Lower Peninsula. After the trail passes through Michigan, it travels through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York before reaching its eastern end in Vermont. The headquarters for the NCTA are located in Lowell, Michigan.
Hike 100 Challenge participants have a variety of options to complete the 2021 mileage. You could hike the same mile 100 times, hike a favorite five-mile segment 20 times, or try and log 100 unique trail miles. After you have completed the mileage, just head back to https://northcountrytrail.org/hike-100-challenge/ and submit your form! Use the hashtags #northcountrytrail and #hike100nct when you share your journey on social media, and feel free to tag @northcountrytrail as well.
Each person who finishes the Hike 100 Challenge receives a completion certificate and a patch with the year on it (pictured above). Those who take their dog hiking can even earn a collar tag for their furry friend! Signing up for email alerts also enters you into a drawing for monthly prizes. Woosah Outfitters, REI, and Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus are the main sponsors for this great program.
Some of our favorite North Country Trail hikes in Michigan are: