The new year brings a renewal of the East Bay Regional Park District's always popular Trails Challenge program, which is entering its 27th year.
Trails Challenge is a free, self-guided way of exploring the parks. There is no need to register. Just pick up a guidebook at a park district visitor center or download one from the website, www.ebparks.org. Then hike any of the trails in the guide, turn in your trail log, and receive a commemorative pin while supplies last. Trails Challenge T-shirts also are available at visitor centers while supplies last.
Thousands of people have participated in the program since it began in 1993. You can hike, bicycle or ride horseback on challenge trails designed for all levels of ability. The guidebook also contains helpful hints on equipment and trail safety.
The Trails Challenge is sponsored by the Regional Parks Foundation in partnership with Kaiser Permanente.
The website also has full listings for activities in all the regional parks, or pick up a copy of the "Regional in Nature -- Activity Guide" at visitor centers.