Meet the 58-year-old grandmother who hiked all 56 Tennessee State Parks in eight months

Photo contributed by Robin Bell / Robin Bell at Burgess Falls State Park in Sparta, Tennessee.
photo Photo contributed by Robin Bell / Robin Bell at Burgess Falls State Park in Sparta, Tennessee.

Robin Bell had been hiking plenty - but even so, she didn't quite understand what she was getting into when she signed up for the 56 Tennessee State Parks Challenge.

The challenge was to visit all 56 Tennessee State Parks within 365 days. Bell, a 58-year-old grandmother, was new to Tennessee, having moved to Johnson City in 2019, and she had been looking for a pandemic-safe activity that would give her some camaraderie.

Soon enough, she found Girls Who Hike Tennessee, a nonprofit that organizes meetups for women via a private Facebook group, boasting 12,000 members across the state. In an effort to support state parks, the group announced the state park challenge in late 2020.

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