The MST turns 43 this September!

Each year since 2017, we have come together in different ways to hike and share our love for the MST. This year, especially as the trail has provided respite and safe recreation when we needed it most, we absolutely will be celebrating. We won’t be hiking the entire trail in one day or joining together for guided group hikes over a weekend, but we will still celebrate.

This year, we’ve dreamed up some new challenges that you can take while socially distanced, and we invite you to help raise funds to support our work at the same time.  Scroll down for all the details.

For hike logistics, we recommend using Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail as a guide. You can purchase a copy here. If you do not have the book, you can see a list of the hikes here. Most are straightforward point to point hikes, though some connect with spur trails to form loops.

Step after step, mile after mile, the MST was made for times like these.

Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Order your 43rd Birthday shirt by September 9th.
Limited edition!

MST Birthday T-shirt

Choose Your Challenge

MST 40 Hike Challenge

Challenge #1

Any day during September, walk one or many of the 40 hikes in the new Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail guide.

Learn More

Challenge #2

To step up even more, we invite you to tackle the 43-Kilometer Challenge (approximately 26.7 miles to us non-metric types).

Learn More

Challenge #3

Still not steep enough for you? Complete all three 43K hikes during the month of September to complete the Triple Crown.

Learn More

Challenge #4

It’s not a proper birthday celebration without giving the trail a gift. Make a gift yourself or commit to raise funds to help build, maintain, protect and promote the MST.

Learn More

Challenge #1

Any day during September, walk one or many of the 40 hikes in the new Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail guide.

The 40 hikes are spread across the state and showcase many natural and cultural gems that are connected by the MST – small towns and historic sites, national and state parks and footpaths through places of astounding natural beauty.  The adventures taken and memories made while on these 40 hikes remind us of how special our state and our trail are.  And of course, all of these hikes count towards the 40-Hike Challenge – hike all 40 of the Great Days Hikes by March 2023 to earn a special patch.

Challenge #2: 43K Challenge

Hike one of three 43-kilometer stretches of the MST in 24 hours to complete the 43K-Challenge.  Stretch your legs in the mountains, the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain.

To step up even more, we invite you to tackle the 43-Kilometer Challenge (approximately 26.7 miles to us non-metric types).  Hike one of three 43-kilometer stretches of the MST in 24 hours to complete the 43K-Challenge.  We picked locations with parking at both ends for easy shuttling, but if you are doing these hikes solo, you can turn around at the mid-way point, completing the mileage on your return trip.  Download the trail guide for each segment for hike logistics – starting and ending mile points are included here.

The first eight male and first eight female 43K-Challenge completers will receive a pair of Farm to Feet socks!

These stretches are:

Segment 5

EB Miles 60.1 to 87.2 (Jumpinoff Rock Overlook to Brinegar Cabin) Even though this hike is in the mountains, this portion of the trail features more rolling hills than steep climbs.  You’ll pass through the stunning Doughton Park, visit the Brinegar Family homestead, perhaps even mingle with some cows as you cross their pastures.  (Halfway is approximately EB Mile 73.9 – MST crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway at South Laurel Fork Road.)

Segment 10

EB Miles 39.2 to 65.1 (Rolling View Recreation Area to Yorkshire Center) Park at the Baptist Road hiker’s lot, take blue-blazed spur trail .5 miles, turn right to hike along Falls Lake, which provides drinking water for many of the communities in the Triangle.  You’ll meander along the lake’s southern edge, experiencing a tranquil trail just miles from one of the state’s busiest cities.  (Halfway is approximately EB Mile 52.1 – MST descends to cross a creek on a footbridge and turns left to follow creek.)

Segment 15

You have the option of hiking the route through Holly Shelter Game Lands and then driving to Surf City, hiking the bridge and walk the length of the MST on Topsail Island OR hiking straight through which includes about 9 miles of road walking to complete across the Surf City Bridge at the Welcome Center.  Yes, this requires more planning but gives you some fun options.  And yes, this hike is a little longer than 43 kilometers, no matter which version you take.  But the flat terrain, excepting the bridge, and the option to take a swim should make up for it!  (Halfway is approximately EB Mile 13.5 – MST turns right onto Lodge Road.)

OPTION 1: EB Miles 0 to 19 and Miles 27 – 37.3 (Holly Shelter Game Lands through Highway 17 access at Lodge Road and Topsail Island starting at the Surf City Community Center, 201 Community Center Drive, Surf City, NC 28445. The Community Center is not technically on the trail, follow JH Batts Road back out to join the trail on Highway 210.  Turn right towards bridge, cross bridge, and follow hiking directions in guide until you reach North Topsail Beach Town Park, 465 New River Inlet Road, North Topsail Beach, NC 28460.)

OPTION 2: EB Miles 0 to 28.3 (Holly Shelter Game Lands to Surf City Welcome Center and Visitor Information Center, 102 N Shore Drive, Surf City, NC 28445.)

To be eligible for the 43K Challenge and the Triple Crown prizes, please either submit GPS/Garmin/Strava data or submit 3 time and GPS stamped photos from the beginning, middle and end of the hike by 11:59 pm on September 30 to confirm completion. Form to submit is here.

Challenge #3: Triple Crown

Hike ALL THREE of the 43-kilometer stretches of the MST, each on their own 24 hour time frame to complete the Triple Crown. Bragging rights, indeed!

If Challenge #2 still isn’t steep enough for you, complete all three 43K hikes during the month of September to complete the 43K Triple Crown. (In the Coastal Plain, you only have to complete one of the options.) All Triple Crown completers will receive an MST prize pack including our new MST shirt, MST keychain, MST diner mug, MST sticker, MST pen and MST pad. Bragging rights indeed for those who finish all three hikes during the month of September!

To be eligible for the 43K Challenge and the Triple Crown prizes, please either submit GPS/Garmin/Strava data or submit 3 time and GPS stamped photos from the beginning, middle and end of the hike by 11:59 pm on September 30 to confirm completion.  Form for submission is here.

Challenge #4

It’s not a proper birthday celebration without giving the trail a gift.

Make a gift yourself or commit to raise funds to help build, maintain, protect and promote the MST.  Donate $430 dollars or more to receive a special personalized pottery plaque handcrafted by Court Pernell, maker of our MST mugs and Falls Lake Challenge awards.

1 – Create a peer to peer campaign. Download the “how to” guide, set up a campaign, and then invite your friends, family, neighbors, ex-boyfriends to give. Your friends will support what you are passionate about. After you have downloaded the guide, click here to to set up your campaign. The guide spells it out, step by step. You have the ability to edit the template copy to share why you love the trail and why you are fundraising on behalf. Once you’ve set up your page, you can start sharing and inviting your friends to give.
2 – Set up a Facebook fundraiser. While we prefer that you use the fundraising tool that we have created, you can also use the Facebook fundraising option. If you choose this route, let us know so we know to watch for those gifts. It’s easy to do, click here to find our fundraising page on Facebook. You’ll be on a pre-filled template for general donations – you can edit the standard donation copy by downloading 43rd Birthday Campaign copy. I can also send you photos from the trail or any logos you may need.
3 – Invite a business to become a trail partner. Business donations are a big help in our efforts to build and maintain the trail. Right now, our corporate gifts have slowed significantly, and finding new corporate trail supporters is critical. If you have someone in mind, reach out to us and we can help make the pitch. See who supports the trail now.
4 – Donate directly if fundraising isn’t your thing. None of the work we do would be possible without our members. If you’re not already a member, please consider giving a gift to become one today. No gift is too big or too small. Your employer may also have a matching gift program – an easy way to double your giving. Give here.

MST Birthday Hike Photos

We’d love to see the MST through your eyes and lens!

Share photos on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag:
#MSTbirthday

and the challenge you are taking:
#MST43K or #MSTtriplecrown

MST Birthday Hike 2020

This is the fourth year we’ve celebrated the MST with a weekend of hiking. We hope you’ll make an annual tradition of celebrating the MST!