First Day Hikes in America's State Parks

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A new year offers 365 days of opportunity, and what better way to start your outdoor goals than with First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day at a state park near you? State parks in all 50 states offer free, guided First Day Hike programs run by outdoor experts who want to help you explore the best the park has to offer.

Visit America's State Parks to find a participating park and enjoy New Year’s Day making memories outdoors while exercising and connecting with nature. The distance and rigor vary depending on the park and the program, and all hikes have one goal: to create a fun experience for everyone while fostering an appreciation for the outdoors.

America's State Parks Offer Invigorating Start to the New Year

Oak Mountain State Park


Hikers enjoying the view from King's Chair in Oak Mountain State Park

Oak Mountain State Park (Alabama State Parks)

Climb to the top of Double Oak Mountain inside Oak Mountain State Park to watch the sunrise from King's Chair Overlook. King's Chair is considered by many to be one of the most scenic overlooks in Birmingham. It's only made more beautiful when you crest the mountain and greet the sun as it ushers in a new day.   This hike is guided by a Park Naturalist and the Park's Seasonal Environmental Interpreters. This hike is about 3.5 miles round trip.

Angel Island State Park


Young hikers historic U.S. immigration State at Angel Island State Park

Angel Island State Park (California State Parks)

Hikers will learn about Angel Island State Park's cultural and natural history as they wind up and around on the island's hiking trails, unpaved, and paved roads while taking in the spectacular views of the Bay Area. The island is the "Ellis Island of the West" with the largest immigration station on the West Coast.  Its military history runs from the Civil War to the Cold War. The island offers great views of San Francisco, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate. The hike is 4 miles on hiking trails and dirt roads, including trail stairs, which includes Sunset trail, Fire Road and Perimeter Road.

Poverty Point World Heritage Site


Hikers approaching a mound at Poverty Point

Poverty Point World Heritage Site (Louisiana State Parks)

This annual event is a ranger-led hike showcasing the mounds, earthworks, and nature found in Poverty Point World Heritage Site. Participants will meet in the museum for an introductory video; the hike can take up to two hours to complete, depending on the pace of the group. Hikers are encouraged to dress in layered, warm clothing, and wear appropriate footwear for a potentially chilly hike.

Lily Bay State Park


Hikers enjoying some snowshoeing along a trail

Lily Bay State Park (Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands)

Begin the New Year with a leisurely 3-mile First Day Hike near Maine's iconic Moosehead Lake in Lily Bay State Park to investigate the wonders of the season. There will also be a 1-mile hike for beginners all scheduled between 12 and 3 pm. Snacks and hot drinks are provided at the end of the hike by a toasty bonfire. Dress in warm layers and sturdy hiking boots or snowshoes. 

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park


Group hiking as a ranger leads a First Day Hike

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park (North Dakota Parks and Recreation)

This First Day Hike that will also serve as the kick-off for North Dakota’s 12 Month 12 Hikes 2020 Event in Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.  Meet at the Commissary Store at 1 pm for a 2 mile hike on the Scouts Trail.  This hike will be moderate and is open to all ages.  Leashed pets are also welcome.  Please dress for weather conditions.  Participant registration for the 12 Months 12 Hikes Event will be from 11 am-1 pm in the Commissary Store.

Blackwater Falls State Park


Blackwater Falls frozen in the winter chill

Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

Take your first step into the New Year with a hike at Blackwater Falls State Park. The hike will be on the Balsam Fir Trail which is about 1-1/2 miles in length.  Plan on about 90 minutes hiking and some interpretative conversation about winter and seasonal changes at Blackwater Falls State Park. Please, dress for trail and weather conditions. No reservations required for this walk. Please, carry water and a snack.  Participants receive a WVSP First Day Patch from the park naturalist at the conclusion of the hike.

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