Event Information

Rachel Carson Trail Challenge 2020


The twenty-fourth annual Rachel Carson Trail Challenge is on Saturday June 20, 2020, the Saturday nearest the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The Challenge is a 35-mile long, one-day, sunrise to sunset endurance hike on much of the brutal Rachel Carson Trail. Unlike a footrace, the "challenge" is not to "come in first" or "win", but to endure, to finish the hike in one day. This time, the Challenge starts in Harrison Hills Park ends 35 miles later in North Park.

There are three events to choose from that day, all taking place on the Rachel Carson Trail:

Full Challenge
35 Miles
The traditional Challenge. It begins in Harrison Hills Park and ends in North Park. Starts at 5:30 AM, finish deadline is 8:54 PM, or 15 hours 4 minutes, whichever comes first. Limit 600 participants, minimum unaccompanied age 12.
Homestead Challenge
18 Miles
Also known as the "Half Challenge", it begins at the Springdale High School, near the Rachel Carson Homestead, and ends in North Park. Starts at 10:00 AM, finish deadline is 7 hours 53 minutes. If you ever thought about trying the Challenge but never thought you could go 35 miles, this may be for you. Limit 300 participants, minimum unaccompanied age 12.
Friends & Family Challenge
7 Miles
This begins in Hartwood Acres Park in Indiana Township and ends in North Park. Starts at noon. It's intended for groups of up to 5 members, and the minimum unaccompanied age is 12. Limit 50 groups.

There'll be a picnic at the finish in North Park for everyone.


The signup/registration site is here. Signup opened on March 1 and selection rounds take place every 7-10 days.

Check In

You will pick up your tracking tag and map when you check in. You have the option of checking in on Friday evening between 5 PM and 8 PM at the Harmar Shelter in North Park. Veteran Challengers will be on hand to answer questions and discuss strategy.

Training Hikes

There will be four 8-10 mile orientation hikes covering the entire trail prior to the Challenge. These allow you to learn trail blazing and navigation, as well as see firsthand the trail itself if you've never been on it before, in addition to helping you get in shape for the event. These hikes will be on the third and second weekends prior to the event. Click here for details.

A series of eight goal training hikes is scheduled for every Sunday starting in April. These are geared toward folks who are new to the event, or who prefer an extended training regimen. Click here for details.

The training hikes are free, but we won't mind suggesting a donation of $3 per person, per hike.

Participant Information

Please review important event details and other information for participants: Full Challenge, Homestead Challenge, Friends & Family Challenge.


Camping: Both North Park and Harrison Hills Park are county parks and camping is not permitted. For parking RVs, there is a Walmart near the course halfway point.

Hotel: These hotels are closest to the parks:

HotelPhoneMiles Away
Near North Park
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott(412)227-96003
Home2 Suites by Hilton(412)630-84004
Comfort Inn(412)415-38675
Route 8 Lodge(724)443-59125
Hampton Inn(412)939-32008
Near Harrison Hills Park
Quality Inn(724)335-91719
Armstrong Farms B&B(724)352-285810
SpringHill Suites(724)274-106411
Maggie West B&B(724)274-890613
Comfort Inn(412)963-060015
Days Inn(412)828-540015
Quality Inn & Suites(412)828-890015
Holiday Inn Express(412)828-930015


The Challenge needs volunteers on Challenge Day! We will need people throughout the day, from morning registration to checkpoints along the trail and the finish. People can volunteer for as few as two hours. If you'd like to help out, review the Volunteer Roles and Responsibilities and sign up. What's in it for a volunteer? As a thank-you, all volunteers receive a coveted Marshal t-shirt, admission to the cookout, and the gratitude of hundreds of strangers!