The Grand Challenge is a 14-mile long community hike and fundraising event that goes from hamlet to hamlet, combining CATS trails and scenic back roads.
Hikers can choose one of three routes based on what they are comfortable with.
The easiest is the short but sweet 1.4-mile Wildway Passage Trail loop in Westport. This scenic hike features streams, rocky ledges, and is an important link in the Split Rock Wildway, a wildlife corridor connecting Lake Champlain to the mountain region.
The Challenge’s moderate route is the Viall’s Crossing loop, a staple in the CATS network of trails, and a favorite right in Westport. It goes through forests and fields with nice views of the area’s bucolic landscape. Hikers who plan right can stop at Ledge Hill Brewery, which is along the Challenge route, and enjoy their offerings.
The most difficult route in the challenge is the Boquet Ridge Ramble, which leads participants to the summit of North Boquet Mountain and has stunning views of the valley and High Peaks. Full details, including downloadable maps and directions of the described routes, are provided on the CATS website.
The public can register with a $25 donation and complete one of three trail loops. Participants who complete the challenge by December 31st will receive the iconic patch designed by Willsboro resident and CATS Board Member, Rob Powell. This extension allows skiers and snowshoers to complete the challenge, weather permitting.
CATS has constructed life-size selfie picture frames on each trail that people can stand in for photos while completing the Challenge.
More information can be found on Champlain Area Trails website, by calling (518) 962-2287 or by emailing email@example.com.
Photo of Tom Bebee and family on the Viall’s Loop Trail for the 2020 Grand Challenge Hike provided.