Celebrate the New Year with fun, fresh air, and scenic views by participating in a First Day Hike in one of America’s State Parks. These guided hikes are organized annually from Hawaii to Maine to encourage individuals and families to start the year on the right foot – by getting outside and connecting with nature.
On January 1, 2024, more than 1,000 hikes will be available in state parks throughout the county. The distance and rigor of the hikes vary from park to park, but they all aim to create a fun experience for the whole family. Savor the beauty of our state parks’ natural, cultural, and historical resources, and be inspired to take advantage of these local treasures all year long.
“I am thrilled to see the continued growth and success of the First Day Hikes program. This initiative has become a cherished tradition, providing individuals and families with the opportunity to embrace the outdoors, and kick off the year with a commitment to health and well-being,” said Lewis Ledford, executive director of the National Association of State Park Directors.
Coast to coast and beyond, participants will start the year by exploring hundreds of state parks. From a scavenger hunt hiking adventure at Deception Pass State Park’s Bowman Bay in Oak Harbor, Washington, to a sunrise hike on the West Summit Trail at Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock, Arkansas, to a hike through the tropical hammock of Florida’s Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, regardless of location, interest or ability, there is a First Day Hike or related activity for everyone.
Hikers can choose guided hikes that fit their comfort levels including mountain and hill climbing, walks along lakes, exploring trails that wind through forests, and wildlife expeditions. For those uninterested or unable to hike, various other offerings are available at America’s state parks including boating, fishing, and horseback riding, or simply enjoying a peaceful moment from a park picnic table or bench.
First Day Hikes began at the Blue Hills Reservation State Park in Massachusetts in 1992. Since 2012, all 50 states have participated. America’s State Parks hopes to make 2024 a record-breaking year as the annual event approaches major milestones, including 1 million miles hiked and 500,000 participants in the program’s history.
For information on First Day Hikes near you, go to stateparks.org/special-programs/first-day-hikes/. Share your January 1 hiking story on social media with #FirstDayHikes.