Young hikers are invited to challenge themselves by exploring Saluda’s many trails in 2020 through a program designed to get more youth outdoors.

The Youth Partner Hiking Challenge, offered by the Saluda Community Land Trust, recently received a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation to help kids ages 5-16 and the adults in their lives appreciate the land and trails that SCLT is seeking to protect

Youth partner hikes are led by a SCLT hike leader and offered on the second Saturday of each month throughout the year.

The challenge includes completing all seven hikes that encompass land trust territory, the Green River Game Lands and a portion of the Palmetto Trail in South Carolina.

The program is open to all youth regardless of where they live and their adult partners, which could be a parent, grandparent or youth leader.

SCLT member Kay Shurtleff said the program is about a year old. The goal is to expose kids to nature not only for health reasons, but because they are going to be the ones who take over and conserve the land for future generations.

“We gear it to kids and we want to make sure kids have fun on the hikes,” Shurtleff said. “Sometimes we adjust the hikes for the individual or group. All are pretty easy trails that are fun and have a good educational component.“

Young hikers must also complete one of three service projects, which are coordinated by SCLT leaders and take place at the Robinson Community Garden (Kid’s Garden plot), the Moody Homestead or Judd's Peak.

Youth who complete the challenge receive an embroidered patch and certificate.

More information, along with a 2020 schedule and activity log, can be found at