Event Information

Rachel Carson Trail Challenge 2024


The twenty-seventh annual Rachel Carson Trail Challenge is on Saturday June 22, 2024, the Saturday nearest the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The Challenge is a 37-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 North Park ends 37 miles later in Harrison Hills County Park.

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

Full Challenge
37 Miles
The traditional Challenge. It begins in North Park and ends in Harrison Hills 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
17 Miles
Also known as the "Half Challenge", it begins at the Springdale High School, near the Rachel Carson Homestead, and ends in Harrison Hills Park. Starts at 10:00 AM, finish deadline is 7 hours 14 minutes. If you ever thought about trying the Challenge but never thought you could go 37 miles, this may be for you. Limit 300 participants, minimum unaccompanied age 12.
Friends & Family Challenge
8 Miles
This begins at the Bull Creek Road checkpoint in Tarentum and ends in Harrison Hills Park. Starts at noon. It's intended for groups of up to 5 members, and the minimum unaccompanied age is 12. Limit 50 groups. Note that this event covers the same section as orientation hike 4.

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


The signup/registration site is here. We begin accepting signups on March 1 and the first selection round takes place on March 8.

Dinner & Check In

Registration includes a pasta dinner on Friday evening, along with tracking tag & map pickup, between 4 PM and 8 PM at the Harmar Shelter in North Park. If you can't check in on Friday, you'll pick up your tracking tag and map when you check in at the start area on Saturday morning.

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: North Park or Harrison Hills Park.


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!