Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is holding the 44 Mile Challenge to celebrate the MST’s 44th birthday during September.

The Mountains-to-Sea Trail runs 1,175 miles from Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks, and a specific section runs straight through downtown Sylva.

This section of the trail is an alternate route through Jackson County that takes travelers along the Tuckaseigee River, through the towns of Sylva and Dillsboro, before rejoining the original trail via Sylva’s Pinnacle Park.

To complete the 44 Mile Challenge, participants hike 44 miles anywhere on the MST between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30. All who complete 44 miles will be entered to win one of six prize packs from REI. The participants with the highest total mileage at the end of September will receive a special prize.

To plan a walk on the MST, use The MST Guide app, which makes it easy to track miles and compete for the REI prize packs. Other resources would include the Friends of the MST’s trail guides, or “Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail.”

All miles must be done by foot; paddling and biking miles are not eligible for this challenge. Full details and hike planning resources can be found at mountainstoseatrail.org/challenges/birthdayhike.