More than Miles: The #SNP52 Hiking Challenge

Kevin and Tobey Morgan started exploring Shenandoah National Park because of a dog and a baby.  

When their daughter, Lucy, arrived on the scene with almost as much energy as their German Shorthair Pointer, the Morgans knew they needed a plan for staying active outside. “Within her first month of joining us, Lucy was riding in a baby carrier at Big Meadows,” Kevin said. “We kept hiking every weekend by sheer force of will, but we needed to get organized in our adventures.” 

Kevin mapped out loops that would keep his family exploring for a year. Within a few weeks, he had developed the SNP52 Hiking Challenge: 23 loops covering 52 trail segments and 150 miles throughout the park. 

The outdoors have long been important to the Morgans, and they knew they wanted to instill that value of nature in Lucy from a young age. “We felt teaching our child about nature and seeing our dog enjoy the world around us would be important to her development,” Kevin explained.  

They searched for a hiking challenge to keep them motivated, but when all they found was the iconic but daunting Shenandoah 500, they realized it might be easier to design their own.  

It was immediately clear that they had created a resource that could help others get outside, so Kevin and Tobey made the SNP52 free and accessible online by publishing downloadable GIS maps, designing a website, and filming their adventures to provide a visual how-to guide for each loop. 

To make those videos more engaging, Kevin researched stories to share about the places they were hiking, promptly tumbling headfirst into the complex, rich history of the land. 

The more he learned, the more he came to deeply treasure Shenandoah and its trails. He began to understand how much previous generations had given so that his family could experience Shenandoah as it is today. Every hike became an exercise in gratitude for the past and a desire to take care of this precious place so the next generation might enjoy it, too. 

“It’s been a great challenge, and an even better way to bring the family closer together, one step at a time,” said Kevin. “Especially since Tobey insists on being able to tell Lucy that she carried her for the entire SNP52 Hiking Challenge!”  

As the next Morgan generation, Lucy has gotten a head start on enjoying Shenandoah. At just over 1 year old, Lucy has already completed 17 of the 23 loops in the SNP52! 

Make the Miles Count

Fundraise through your hikes by setting up a peer-to-peer donation page! Much like a Facebook birthday fundraiser, peer-to-peer fundraising is essentially when supporters ask for donations from their friends and family to raise money on an organization’s behalf. Create a page and raise funds for the park while you hike!

Find everything you need to take on the SNP52 Hiking Challenge and start a fundraiser here!

Support Shenandoah

Preserving national parks is made possible by people like you.
Consider supporting Shenandoah today.