It's Fall Hiking Spree time in Summit County.
The 47th annual event, sponsored by Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, gets under way Wednesday and will put thousands of hikers on local trails.
Participants must hike eight of 15 designated trails to earn a hiking staff as a first-time participant or a shield to add to an existing hiking staff. There is a 16th option: choose any trail within the local metro parks.
This year's trails and ratings:
• Bike & Hike, from state Route 91 parking lot west to Silver Lake and back, 2.4 miles, easy.
• Oxbow Trail, Cascade Valley Metro Park, 1.2 miles, moderate.
• Quarry Trail, Deep Lock Quarry, 1.2 miles, moderate.
• Willow Trail, Firestone, 1.6 miles, easy.
• Rock Creek, Furnace Run, 1.2 miles, easy.
• Piney Woods, Goodyear Heights, 2 miles, moderate.
• Gorge, Gorge park, 1.8 miles, difficult.
• Adam Run, Hampton Hills, 3.2 miles, difficult.
• Buttonbush, Liberty Park, 1.6 miles, easy.
• Indian Spring, Munroe Falls, 2.2 miles, moderate.
• Cherry Lane/Fernwood, Seiberling Nature Realm, 1 mile, easy.
• Deer Run, O'Neil Woods, 1.8 miles, difficult.
• Mingo, Sand Run, 3.3 miles, difficult.
• Pheasant Run, Silver Creek, 1.2 miles, easy.
• Towpath Trail, from Clinton to Stark County line and back, 2 miles, easy.
You can get an early start on the Fall Hiking Spree today. Hikers can get credit for doing the Willow Trail at Firestone Metro Park between noon and 3 p.m.
The trails must be hiked by Nov. 30.
The hiking rewards are free to Summit County residents. Out-of-county hikers must pay $10 to get a staff and $5 for shields.
Hiking forms and directions are available at http://www.summitmetroparks.org. You can also get forms at the district's administrative office at 975 Treaty Line Road in Akron, the Seiberling Nature Realm at 1828 Smith Road in Akron and at all Acme Fresh Market stores in Summit County.
Completed forms can be turned in at the district's administrative office and at the Seiberling Nature Realm.
You can also download an audio tour online for eight of the parks.
For information, call 330-865-8065.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.