The 26th Annual Bill Cather 20-Mile Hike at Oak Mountain State Park will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. Mr. Cather created this event in 1998. Hundreds of scouts and adults have benefited from his leadership of this hike which we continue in his honor. Bill will be joining us for a section of the hike.

We will meet outside of the main gate at 6:30 AM. We will finish at 5:00 PM. Bring 1 liter of water and two quick high-calorie lunches, trail snacks, plus a personal first aid kit. Bring a WATERPROOF rain jacket, a head lamp, and dress in lightweight layers. Do not wear cotton socks or cotton clothes. We will be resupplied with water at the 7 and 14-mile marks.

This event is for Scouts and adults, but is not age-appropriate for Cub Scouts. All Scouts must have at least one adult from their troop. The 20-mile hike is a requirement of the hiking merit badge and may be the best merit badge requirement in Scouting. It is also superb Philmont training.

Please email Frank Tynes if you are joining us — Additionally, if there is enough interest and adult leadership, we can have a group do this as a trail run. Email if interested.


  • Assemble at the kiosk outside the main gate of Oak Mtn. @ 6:30 AM SHARP! We must start on time and will not wait for latecomers.
  • We will drive to the South Trailhead and start hiking at 7:00 AM or before on the Yellow Trail.
  • We will arrive at the North Trailhead at 10:00 AM. 15-minute break here to refill water bottles and have a quick sack lunch including power bars.
  • Leave the North Trailhead on the Blue Trail and the hikers will arrive at Peavine Falls at 1:15. Resupply with water and eat another lunch and change socks if needed. We will depart at 1:45.
  • Take the White Trail and cross the Red Trail until you reach the Orange Connector Trail. Take the Orange back down to the Red and head back in the direction you came from.
  • We will reach the Red Trail at 2:45 and make the loop back to the Red and White junction at 3:45. 
  • Continue southwest on the Red Trail until you reach the Green Trail at 4:30 where you will turn down the mountain to the paved road. Take a left and head back to the cars. The hikers will finish at 5:00 PM 
  • Dress in layers for the weather (no heavy jackets) including a WATERPROOF raincoat.
  • Bring a headlamp in case we finish after dark.
  • Wear or bring a hat, gloves, change of socks, personal first aid kit (including moleskin), one water bottle, two quick high calorie lunches, sunscreen, day pack and snacks.
  • Cut your toenails, eat a carb-loaded dinner the night before, and eat breakfast on the morning of the hike. 
  • Drink a liter of water the night before, and a second liter before you arrive.
  • Hiking poles are helpful.
  • This is a rain or shine event (except for thunderstorms or day-long sub-freezing temperatures).
  • The backup date is Sunday, Dec. 17th.
  • NO DOGS.

If you have any questions, contact Frank Tynes –

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