An Alameda County Trails Challenge

Are you ready to hit the trails? With plenty to choose from in Alameda County, here's how it works.

Gyms can be boring. So what better time to exercise outdoors while the weather stays warm and dry? The East Bay Regional Park District offers this year's Trails Challenge.

Changing up your routine every few months is a good idea–and this is a great way to do it. There are different types of trails depending on if you decide to walk, hike, bike or bring a companion in a wheelchair or stroller.

In Alameda County, there are plenty of trails and parks.

There are two versions of the Alameda Creek Regional Trail, paved and unpaved.

Paved trail runs from Niles Canyon to the bay with access from Union City, Newark and Fremont. Its suggested use is for bicyclists, runners and hikers. Markers are installed at ½ mile intervals. The south bank has access to Coyote Hills Regional Park and by adding the 3.5 mile loop qualifies it for a marathon run.

Unpaved trail starts at the Niles Canyon staging area through Isherwood, Niles and Union City to the Bay. This route provides access to the Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area.

Register for the East Bay Regional Parks Trails Challenge 2011 and create a new user registration.

You'll receive access to the trail booklet, instructions for receiving a free Trails Challenge shirt and links to the hike routes on Google Maps.

There's even a Trail Challenge app for Android and iPhones. Self-paced and self-guided, your goal is to complete five trails or 26.2 miles.

Relax. You have until Dec. 1 to complete and submit your Trail Log. Bonus pins will also be mailed out in the fall for those who complete the challenge.

The program is free and is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente for the seventh consecutive year.

As of early September, about 8,800 participants had registered. For more information, visit http://www.ebparks.org/trailschallenge.


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