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8 and 10 Year Olds Join Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s 900 Miler Club 

While many young people today are busy with their iPhones, tablets, and streaming TV, 10-year-old Elizabeth and 8-year-old Landon have been busy outdoors, seeking a different kind of entertainment—one that involves sweat and hard work. The adventurous brother and sister duo hiked over 1,000 miles in their quest to join the exclusive Great Smoky Mountains National Park 900 Miler Club.

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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a UNESCO heritage site due to its biodiversity, and it’s the most popular national park in the world. However, the elusive 900 Miler Club currently has just over 800 members. The club is reserved for those who have completed every trail within the park, and they must have hiked at least 900 miles in the process. Founded in 1995 by “Louisiana” Lou Murray, those who wish to enter the club have to apply.

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The brother/sister duo joins what appears to be a trend of “toddler treks”—children heading out on long and difficult expeditions with their parents, like 10-year-old Sawyer Howard, who is hiking multiple mountains at 4,000 feet, and five-year-old Bellamy Korn, who is attempting 100 hikes during her leukemia treatment.

Brought up in the outdoors, the two siblings have enjoyed exploration from a young age—as young as 18 months, in Landon’s case. The kids’ mother, Jennifer Stoneking-Stewart, hikes alongside the kids, enthusiastically supporting their thirst for adventure. Hiking 900 miles is no small feat for grown-ups, and these two have spent months pushing themselves to complete their 900 miles across North Carolina and East Tennessee

The two young hikers completed a distance of 1,165 miles by the time they were done with their expedition and hiked around 150 trails, including every trail in the park, some of which are quite difficult and/or extensive. The two were not deterred and spent countless hours on the trail to reach their goal. Now, they’ve got their 900 Miler Club medals to commemorate their wonderful experience.

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