Explore the Local Landscape and Local History with Hike 125

Explore the Local Landscape and Local History with Hike 125

Alongside camping, hiking stands as one of summer’s most classic family activities. The leafy canopy afforded to hikers on forest trails makes the woods a cool and inviting space to explore, and the potential for exploring nature at its greenest and liveliest is enticing for adventurers of any age. From short afternoon hikes to serious treks, the trails of western Massachusetts have much to offer adventurous families.

On top of the many benefits of hiking is an added bonus this summer, related specifically to local trails that are part of properties maintained by the Trustees of Reservations. To celebrate the organization’s 125th anniversary, the Trustees are holding the Hike 125 challenge, a celebratory event that challenges locals to hike 125 (or more) miles of the Trustees’ trails before December 31, 2016. In addition to a strong sense of accomplishment, heightened awareness of natural phenomena, stronger muscles, and a deepened sense of place, all participants attempting to rise to the challenge will be entered to win special prizes – with those who manage to hike at least 125 miles entered to win the best prizes of all. 

While hiking is a very low- to no-tech (and sometimes even low-gear) activity, the Hike 125 challenge requires that participants use technology to officially track their progress. Participants will need to use a fitness or hike tracking app on a smart phone or similar device while hiking a Trustees property in order to officially prove that they’ve covered some serious distance. Progress can be uploaded onto the Trustees’ Hike 125 website, allowing participants to track their miles throughout the duration of the contest.

Despite the contest’s requirement that hikes be done at properties run by the Trustees of Reservations, there are certainly enough trails to explore that hikers shouldn’t find themselves running out of new places to explore. In western Massachusetts alone, there are over 20 Trustees properties offering hikes of all lengths and levels of difficulty. Outside of our region, there are close to 100 more Trustees properties just waiting to explore. The most adventurous of hikers might be able to accomplish the Hike 125 challenge without ever having to repeat a trail! Exploration of Trustees properties will not only lead to great exercise and learning about the local environment, but can support studies of local and national history, as well as local culture. Many Trustees of Reservations properties not only contain trails, but showcase historic homes, beautiful gardens, and other treasures of human history. Families can hike the properties’ trails and explore these exciting landmarks all in one go!

Easy Hikes in Western MA:

Moderate Hikes in Western MA:

Strenuous Hikes in Western MA:

[Photo credit: (cc) Texas Tongs]

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