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Best of the Rest: Hiking Competitions

If our writer’s experience racing in the Phoenix Summit Challenge (November 2017), has you itching for a close-to-home hiking competition, consider these worthy of your time.


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Lieutenant Commander Matthew Wingate NOAA Corps/Flickr

Seek The Peak, North Conway, NH

July 20-21, 2018, Difficulty: Varies

The Seek the Peak hiking event is the perfect event for hikers looking for a good climb that gives back. The annual hiking event benefits New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington Observatory, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing weather and climate understanding and education. Competitors are asked to raise $200, earning freebies and the chance to win outdoor gear and trips. Participants can choose to summit Mt. Washington however they like (Tuckermans is the most popular) individually or in teams. When not hiking, competitors can enjoy an outdoors expo and an after party and dinner. More info at https://www.mountwashington.org/seek-the-peak/. [image: Lieutenant Commander Matthew Wingate NOAA Corps/Flickr]

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Clint Trahan

Go Fest, Whistler, BC

May 18-21, 2018, Difficulty: Varies

Go Fest, Whistler’s Great Outdoor Festival, is the ultimate weekend destination for adventure enthusiasts. The four-day festival, which celebrates the convergence of summer and winter, includes non-competitive events and clinics from trail running to road cycling to even forged axe throwing. Competitive events include a sailing regatta and tennis tournament. Festival-goers can relax after their adventures with film screenings, live music, and art workshops. Find out more at greatoutdoorsfest.com. [image: Clint Trahan]

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Andreas Kambanis/Flickr

Strava App, Anywhere

Virtual, Difficulty: Varies

Strava, a fitness community GPS app, is a go-to tool for hikers who love a little competition. While the app, used with a cellphone or GPS device, is often used for running and cycling, hikers can also track and share their times and routes with other app users. The app also features leaderboards for specific trail segments. Use the app either to compete against yourself, friends, or other Strava community members. Learn more at www.strava.com. [image: Andreas Kambanis/Flickr]

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Dustin Askins/Flickr

Zombie Apocalypse Hike, Caddo Lake State Park, TX

October 28, Difficulty: Easy

Think you could survive a zombie apocalypse? Test your knowledge on the Zombie Apocalypse hike, a family-friendly Halloween event at Caddo Lake State Park in east Texas. On this playful hike, learn the necessary skills to survive a zombie apocalypse, including finding food, water and shelter. More information at https://tpwd.texas.gov/. [image: Dustin Askins/Flickr]

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Let Ideas Compete/Flickr

Boulder Ale Trail, Boulder, Colorado

12 miles, Difficulty: Easy

While this isn’t technically a competition, it could very well be made into one with the right group of friends and copious beer. Dubbed the “Boulder Ale Trail”, this unofficial extension of the 12-mile Longmont-to-Boulder Trail features a dozen breweries within walking distance of the trail. Hikers and cyclists can make their way to one or two breweries near the trail, or all 12 if they have the endurance (and alcohol tolerance). Check it out at http://boulderaletrail.org/. [image: Let Ideas Compete/Flickr]

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Kennan Harvey

Colorado Trail Fest, Colorado

Dates TBA, Difficulty: Medium

We might be a little biased in saying that this is the best hiking party ever. Founded in 2016 by BACKPACKER in partnership with the state of Colorado, Mountain Hardwear, and Colorado Outward Bound, the Colorado Trail Fest is a four-day hike on the famous Colorado Trail. Hikers of all experience levels traverse some 30 miles over the four days, ending with a celebration full of music, beer, food, and prizes. [image: Kennan Harvey]