12 Months–12 Hikes Challenge
The 12 Months-12 Hikes Challenge is returning in 2023! Hike one participating North Dakota trail each month as part of the statewide challenge. Participants who complete 12 hikes by the end of the year earn a commemorative 12 Months–12 Hikes patch! This year's challenge includes an exciting change including additional bonus trails in partnering city park districts! Ready to get active and stay healthy in the new year? Here's how it works:
- Click here to register online.
- Pick from 22 qualifying trails within 14 state parks and recreation areas and hike one trail a month during 2023. (We've created this checklist to help you keep track!)
- Complete your hikes in one park or explore all 20 participating locations. For ND State Parks, check out our interactive map to help plan your visits.
- Check-in is easy! Scan the trail sign QR code with your mobile device (using your phone's camera or QR reader app) and submit the online check-in form.
- Miss a month? We offer six bonus hiking trails within our partnering park districts to help you complete the challenge!
To verify that your trail check-in was submitted successfully or to find out how many hikes you have completed, submit a hike status request form. Please allow two weeks for us to respond to your request.
Complete one hike a month on any of the 22 qualifying trails below. Miss a month? The six bonus hikes can be logged at any point during the year to help you complete the challenge!
List of Qualifying Trails
We've created this checklist to help you keep track.
- Moraine Loop, Beaver Lake State Park, Distance: 2.28 miles
- Matah “River” Trail, Cross Ranch State Park, Distance: 2.9 miles
- Cottonwood Trail, Cross Ranch State Park, Distance: 3.3 miles
- Keller Loop, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Distance: 2.02 miles
- Little Soldier Loop, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Distance: 1.76 miles
- Little Twig Trail, Fort Ransom State Park, Distance: 0.94 miles
- White Tail Loop, Fort Ransom State Park, Distance: 0.46 miles
- Flicker Loop, Fort Stevenson State Park, Distance: 1 mile
- Northern Pine Loop, Fort Stevenson State Park, Distance: The Loop is 0.25 mile from Visitor Center on Flicker Trail, Loop 2.22 miles, Total 2.72 miles
- Sivert Thompson Loop, Grahams Island State Park, Distance: 1.6 miles
- Hillman Trail, Icelandic State Park, Distance: 0.75 miles
- Basswood Trail, Icelandic State Park, Distance: 0.6 miles
- Kings Highway Trail, Lake Metigoshe State Park, Distance: Begin near Loon Lodge, connects to multiple trails/loops. 2.5+ miles round trip
- Cub Loop, Lake Metigoshe State Park, Distance: 0.35 miles
- North Country Trail, Lake Sakakawea State Park, Distance: 1.78 miles (3.56 miles roundtrip)
- Coteau Trail (formerly Prairie Nature Trail), Lewis & Clark State Park, Distance: 1.1 miles
- Eskers Trail (formerly South Trail System), Lewis & Clark State Park, Distance: 2.6 miles
- I Trail, Little Missouri State Park (Open seasonally), 2.25 miles
- Maah Daah Hey Trail, Sully Creek State Park, Start at the Sully Creek Trailhead to explore a portion of the 144-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail.
- Fisher Loop, Turtle River State Park, Distance: 0.65 miles
- Hollows River/Hollows Ridge Loop (from the Visitor Center Trailhead), Turtle River State Park, Distance: 1.74 miles
- Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area, Distance: Over 30 miles of trails available. Choose your own adventure starting from the trailhead.
List of Bonus Trails [click for GPS coordinates]
- Little Muddy Trail, Williston, ND. (Williston Parks and Recreation District) Access trail from Spring Lake Park. Distance: 5 miles one way.
- Minot Outdoor Recreation Area, Minot, ND. (Minot Parks and Recreation District). Access trail at Minot Outdoor Recreation Area. Distance: 0.7 mile loop, additional hiking trails in the area.
- Greenway Loop Trail, Grand Forks, ND and East Grand Forks, MN. (Grand Forks Parks and Recreation District) Access near downtown canoe/kayak launch north of Demers Ave bridge. Distance: 7.5 miles.
- Crooked Crane Trail, Patterson Lake, Dickinson, ND. (Dickinson Parks and Recreation District). From the entrance to the Heart River golf course head west on 8th St SW for 0.6 miles. Keep left on 8th St. SW for 0.4 miles. Keep left again on SW 8th St. for 0.9 miles. Sign is on the left side of the road just before the south boat launch parking area. Distance: 1.9 miles paved.
- Edgewood Trail, Bismarck, ND. (Bismarck Parks and Recreation District) Begin at the trailhead at Century Ave. Bridge, cross the bridge and head north, 1.62 miles round trip to Johnny Gisi Memorial Park or 4.3 miles round trip to Centennial Rd.
- Red River Trail, Fargo, ND (Fargo Parks and Recreation District). Trail access and sign located at the corner of Lindenwood Dr. S. and Roger Maris Dr. Distance: 6.8 miles one way.
2023 12 Months-12 Hikes Challenge Official Rules
- Participants must first register by completing the online registration form. All ages are welcome to participate! Individuals, families or groups are allowed to register using one phone number. This 10-digit phone number will serve as the participant ID when checking in for each hike for either yourself or the entire group!
- Registrations will be accepted all year long. However, it will be impossible to complete the challenge if not started by the end of July 2023.
- Each qualifying and bonus trail will be open for check-ins all month long, subject to seasonal, weather-related, or emergency park/trail closures. Always check before you venture out.
- If you miss a month, there are six qualifying bonus hikes across the state which you can complete to count toward your 12 hikes. These bonus hikes are also open for check-ins each month (subject to seasonal, weather-related, or emergency closures), but each bonus location can only be hiked once to count toward the 12-hike completion.
- To log your monthly hike, participants must scan the trail sign QR code on a mobile device, enter their email address (used during registration), participation ID (registered 10-digit phone number), the number of additional hikers and then submit the participation check-in form.
- Check-ins will be allowed all month long, subject to seasonal, weather-related, or emergency closures. (Check-ins are recorded in Central Standard Time; months are 12:00 a.m. (CST) on the 1st of each month to 11:59 p.m. (CST) on the last day of the month).
- Email submissions will not be accepted.
- Only one qualifying hike submission per participation ID will be accepted each month except if a bonus trail(s) is hiked the same month as a normal qualifying hike.
- There are 22 qualifying trails statewide in 14 state parks/recreation areas and six additional bonus trails located in partnering city park districts that count toward completing the 12 hikes (See this checklist for qualifying trails). Hike one of the 22 trails each month to complete the challenge. You can hike the same trail each month or a different trail each month to complete the challenge. If you miss a month, make up for it by hiking a bonus trail, but remember one you use a bonus trail you can’t use that bonus trail again to complete the challenge.
- Trails will vary in distance, type of hike, type of path and how strenuous the trail is. No special signage will be provided on the trails besides the trailhead check-in sign indicating that the trail is a qualifying hike. Please refer to online information, park maps or inquire with park staff for questions. Trails may not be stroller friendly. The ND Parks and Recreation Department does not oversee the bonus hike trail locations. For questions regarding the bonus trail conditions, locations, etc. should be referred to the park district in question.
There is no cost to participate in the 2023 12 Months–12 Hikes Challenge. However, entering any state park by vehicle requires the display of a North Dakota Parks & Recreation annual permit or a vehicle day pass. Daily passes as well as North Dakota Parks & Recreation annual permits are available for purchase online or at any state park visitor center (hours of operation may vary).
The whole family is encouraged to participate in the monthly hikes. Leashed pets are also welcome, but please clean up after them! For more information, please call 701-328-5357 Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Central Standard Time) You can also email us at email@example.com
Prizes are based on the number of hikes as well as the number of different locations visited to complete those hikes. The prize list and qualifying criteria is below:
- Participants who complete at least one qualifying or bonus hike will receive one entry into a random drawing for a 2024 ND Parks & Recreation annual permit. You do not need to complete all 12 hikes to be entered into this drawing.
- Participants who complete the 12-hike challenge by visiting 2-4 locations will receive a commemorative patch and four additional entries into a random drawing for a 2024 ND Parks & Recreation annual permit.
- Participants who complete the 12-hike challenge by visiting 5-7 locations will receive a commemorative patch and seven additional entries into a random drawing for a 2024 ND Parks & Recreation annual permit.
- Participants who complete the 12-hike challenge by visiting 8 or more State Parks/Recreational Areas will receive a commemorative patch and twelve additional entries into a random drawing for a 2024 ND Parks & Recreation annual permit.
*A total of 12 North Dakota Parks & Recreation annual permits will be given away in the drawing! Commemorative patches are limited to six per registered phone number/mailing address. Current employees of NDPRD, their families, or employees whom at any time during 2023 were employed with NDPRD are not eligible to be entered into the drawing, but can participate for the commemorative patch.
How do I participate in the 2023 12 Months-12 Hikes Challenge?
- Complete the 2023 12 Months-12 Hikes Challenge registration form here from Dec 2022 – December 2023.
NOTE: If you do not complete a hike in a state park by the end of July 2023, you will not be able to achieve the 12 completed hikes in 2023. But you can still register and complete a qualifying hike to gain one entry into the drawing.
- To make your monthly hike count toward your 12, you will need to check-in via a mobile smart device and hike a qualifying trail each month throughout the year. Six bonus hike areas are available if you miss a month; however, each bonus hike can only be used once (a maximum total of six bonus hikes for the year).
Where do I find the qualifying trail to hike?
- There are 22 qualifying trails in 14 parks/recreation areas and six bonus hikes statewide that are part of the challenge. You can choose what trail you want to hike each month. You can hike the same qualifying trail multiple times during the calendar year to count toward your 12 collective hikes, but the more parks you visit, the more entries you will receive for the prize drawing. A list of qualifying trails can be found here.
Can I do my hike any time during the month?
- Yes. The qualifying trails are open all month long! However, be aware that some parks are only open seasonally and other areas may close due to weather-related events or emergency situations. Call ahead to confirm the trail/park is open.
Can I do more than one hike a month and have it count towards my 12?
- Yes and No. You are only allowed to submit one qualifying hike each month unless you are also completing a bonus hike. Bonus hikes may be completed at any time. (In theory, you could hike a trail in a state park and all six bonus hikes in the same month to count towards the challenge).
What are the participating locations?
- Participating locations include Beaver Lake, Fort Abraham Lincoln, Icelandic, Fort Ransom, Turtle River, Lake Metigoshe, Lake Sakakawea, Grahams Island, Lewis & Clark, Cross Ranch, Sully Creek, Little Missouri and Fort Stevenson state parks along with Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area. Additional locations (the bonus hike locations) are located in our partnering city park districts of: Williston, Minot, Grand Forks, Dickinson, Bismarck and Fargo.
Can I participate with other people?
- You can participate as an individual, a couple, with friends, or with your family. However, the phone number used for the initial registration must be used throughout the remainder of the year for accurate recording. Entering a wrong phone number during check-in may prevent your hike from being accurately recorded. Please note that completion patches are limited to six per registered phone number/mailing address.
Can members of the same household participate separately?
- Yes, but each participant must be registered separately and use a unique individual phone number throughout the year.
What if we only have one phone number within the household?
- The phone number serves as a unique participation ID, which is required as you check-in for your hike each month. You can register as many people as you want with a single phone number.
Is there an age requirement?
- All ages are welcome to participate in the hiking challenge!
Can the same Participant ID (phone number) be utilized by multiple people?
- Yes; however during initial registration, we ask for the names of everyone registering under the same phone number. Please note that commemorative patches are limited to six per registered phone number/mailing address.
Do I need to submit my trail check-in by scanning the trail sign’s QR code with my mobile smart device?
- Yes, this is the only way to check-in at a qualifying trail. If you have trouble with cell service at a specific location, scan the QR code, save the URL location, and visit any of the state park entrance stations for free WIFI connections. Connect to WIFI and complete the check-in process. When checking in be sure to enter your correct hone number as a wrong phone number during check-in may prevent your hike from being accurately recorded.
Do I have to do the trails in any particular order?
- No, you can choose to complete all 12 hikes in one location, or you can venture to as many locations as you like. However, be aware that the prize entries are based on the number of locations visited as well. You must check-in at a minimum of two locations as you complete your 12 hikes in order to win a commemorative sticker or magnet.
What if I didn’t find out about the challenge until after it started?
- No problem! Participants that register from Dec 2022 thru July 2023 are still able to complete the challenge (You’ll just have some catch-up work to do). However, registrations will be accepted during all of 2023 as participants can still register, complete a qualifying hike, and gain an entry into a drawing for a 2024 annual permit.
Do I have to register?
- Yes, Register for the challenge online here.
Are there any fees affiliated with the 12 Months - 12 Hikes Challenge?
- Although there is no cost affiliated with the 2023 12 Months - 12 Hikes Challenge itself, fees may include state park entrance fees, camping fees and affiliated reservation fees.
Is the 12 Months - 12 Hikes Challenge COVID friendly?
- Yes! The 12 Months-12 Hikes Challenge is strictly an outdoor activity in which participants can participate on their own.