2021 WNY Hiking Challenge

Welcome to the Western New York Hiking Challenge brought to you by Outside Chronicles. This challenge was created to get people out on the many beautiful and unique trails throughout WNY. Our goal is to encourage people to get outside, embrace the outdoors, and reap the many benefits of spending time in nature.

The Western New York Hiking Challenge is designed to give people an opportunity to visit new local parks and explore new trails. Along with hiking the trails, the challenge material will educate participants on parks’ history and local flora and fauna to spot while on the trail. Check out a sample hike.

There are 32 parks plus two bonus parks, each with a unique landmark.

NEW FOR 2021: WNY ULTRA Hiking Challenge.


  1. Complete five (5) trails from each of the four (4) groups (A through D) for a total of 20 trails between March 21, 2021 and November 19, 2021, inclusive. There are two (2) bonus hikes that will be used for additional prizes (See the trails and groups.).
  2. Take a selfie at the Challenge landmark at each park.
  3. Upload your picture to the submission page.
  4. (Optional) Post your picture to WNY Hiking Challenge Group* or on Instagram. (use hashtags #HikeWNY and #WNYHikingChallenge. Be sure to tag @outsidechronicles).
    * registration code required to join

Complete 20 Trails for: a patch, a sticker, a number, and bragging rights!

1. Register

Complete the registration form and submit your registration fee*.

Individual: $20
Family: $65
Pet: $20
Scouts: $15

*The registration fee is used to cover the cost of Challenge prizes (patches and stickers) and expenses. All profits will be donated to The WNY Land Conservancy to support the WNY Wildway project, and the Finger Lakes Trail Conference

2. Download Challenge Packet

After your registration and payment have been verified, you will be e-mailed a link to the WNY Hiking Challenge packet. The packet contains information about the parks, maps, suggested hikes, and landmark locations.

3. Hit the Trails!

Use the information in the Challenge packet to choose 20 trails, 5 from each group (See the trails and groups.). Get out there and find the landmarks! Each map has a suggested path, but feel free to make your own hike.

There will be a BONUS for people who want to complete ALL 32 trails and the bonus hikes.

Remember to take a garbage bag and leave the trails better than you found them.

4. Upload Your Photos

To complete your Challenge requirement, you will need to upload your selfie to https://outsidechronicles.com/upload.

We love to see your photos and stories! Post your pictures to the WNY Hiking Challenge Facebook Group* , or tag @outsidechronicles on Instagram. Use the hashtags #HikeWNY and #WNYChallenge. You might even see your pictures and stories featured on our channels!
* registration code required to join

5. Follow Everyone’s Progress on the Challenge Board

Follow the Outside Chronicles Facebook Page for weekly updates.

Join the Outside Chronicles WNY Hiking Challenge Facebook Group*.

Check the the Live Challenge Board regularly.

* registration code required to join

Stay Safe, Stay Hydrated, and Explore!


I get an error that my e-mail address is in use when I register my child or pet?
Sorry, but the registration and upload system requires a unique ID.  Due to previous issues encountered, I am requiring  a unique e-mail address.  There are several free e-mail solutions from Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.  I would suggest setting up a free e-mail address for your child or pet and turn on forwarding to your e-mail account.

Can I add-on the ULTRA Challenge after I register?
Yes, simply pay the difference using the ULTRA add-on form: https://outsidechronicles.com/ultraadd

Are there any family discounts?
Yes, the family rate is $65 and entitles the family to up to 6 patches upon completion of the Challenge. Just select Family at registration. Families will only need to upload one group picture. Your family can include one or two pets with the total number of patches earned not to exceed 6.

Can families participate in the ULTRA?
Yes, the family ULTRA add-on price is $20. Please note that pets cannot participate in all of the ULTRA hikes. If you have a pet as part of your family discount, they will not earn an ULTRA patch.

Are there discounts for scouts?
Yes, registered Girl Scouts and Scouts BSA will receive a $5 discount. Scout registration is $15. Select the scouting organization at registration and provide your troop number.

What does the WNY Hiking Challenge Packet contain?
You will get a complete Challenge rules, a description of what your donations will help fund, a map and description for every hike and links to a digital map to use with Avenza Maps, check out a few sample pages here.

Do I need to register by March 21?
No, you can register anytime between now and November 19, 2021. You just need to complete 20 trails by November 19, 2021.

Are dogs welcome at the Challenge?
Absolutely, they can even register and earn a special patch and sticker. Please follow each parks’ rules when you bring your dog (i.e. they must be licensed, kept on a leash and you must clean up after them). Please note that some of the trails do not allow dogs, they will be noted in the WNY Hiking Challenge Packet.

Please note that pets cannot participate in all of the ULTRA hikes and cannot earn an ULTRA patch.

You mentioned that a book acted as the inspiration for these Challenges?
Correct, the book is out of print, but you may be able to find it used on Amazon or at the library. The book is Secret Places: Scenic Treasures of Western New York and Southern Ontario by Bruce Kershner.

The late Bruce Kershner was a great conservationist and advocate for places like Reinstein Woods and Zoar Valley. *He was also my wife’s high school teacher.