When Does Two Feet Equal 100 Miles?
Every year on June 2 we celebrate National Trails Day. Sponsored by the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day has a goal of improving 2,802 miles of trail (the distance across the US) in a single day. What makes this National Trails Day so special is 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the National Trail System. The National Trails System Act of 1968 calls for establishing trails in both urban and rural settings for people of all ages, interests, skills, and physical abilities. The act promotes the enjoyment and appreciation of trails while encouraging greater public access. It establishes four classes of trails: national scenic trails, national historic trails, national recreation trails, and side and connecting trails.
Yellowstone is home to several National Recreation Trails (Beartooth Loop, South Rim, Three Senses, and Morning Glory) as well as two National Historic Trails: the Nez Perce and Continental Divide. The Nez Perce Trail is a 1,170-mile trail running between Oregon and Montana. When fleeing from the US Army in 1877 the Nez Perce spent 13 days traveling through Yellowstone. While none of the officially designated historic sites associated with the Nez Perce are in Yellowstone, you can still hike through lands the Nez Perce traveled through. The Continental Divide Trail is a 3,100 mile trail running between Canada and Mexico. It cuts through the southern part of Yellowstone National Park. The Upper Geyser Basin (home of Old Faithful) and Shoshone Lake are both on the Continental Divide Trail in Yellowstone.
Hiking Yellowstone’s trails is a goal for most employees. The 100 Mile Hiking Club is an extra incentive for employees in Yellowstone National Park to get out and explore their 2.2 million acre backyard. The 100 Mile Hiking Club challenges employees to hike 100 miles within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in a single summer season. No experience is necessary. Hikes can include front country boardwalks as well as backcountry trails.
The 100 Mile Hiking Club is sponsored by the Yellowstone Co-Op Employee Recreation Program (YCERP). YCERP is the largest and most diverse employee recreation program in any national park. If employees are interested in hiking 100 miles in a summer, all it takes to start is to pay $10 at a location recreation office. This fee covers a membership t-shirt, hike log sheet, and a hiking guide written by a former employee. Once you earn your 100 miles, you get an achievement t-shirt, a keychain, and a certificate proclaiming your accomplishment. Already surpassed 100 miles? Continue to hike as much as you want and you can work towards the 500, 1,000, or 5,000 mile milestones. Feel free to hike with your friends or on YCERP led group hikes. The YCERP led hikes are great opportunity to meet new people.
As the world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park is in a league of its own (particularly for hiking). Trails take you from unparalleled thermal features to forests containing abundant wildlife. You can gaze upon high mountain scenery or walk through areas containing aspects of Yellowstone’s rich history. There is no better way to get to know Yellowstone than to lace up your boots and witness firsthand what has made this corner of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hiking leaves a lasting imprint on many who work here. Hiking is just one of the many perks available to you when you work in Yellowstone National Park. Check out our website for more information about living, working, and exploring in Yellowstone.