How to Participate in a First Day Hike Event

Celebrate the start of the new year by joining the seventh annual First Day Hike event on January 1, when America’s State Parks across all 50 states (plus Ontario Provincial Parks) will provide free ranger and volunteer guided events.

"America’s State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to discover the tranquility and beauty of nature through outdoor recreation,” National Association of State Park Directors Executive Director, Lewis Ledford, says. “Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while exploring beautiful public lands in every state.”

Each location will organize unique events to connect the public with the beauty of the great outdoors and promote physical wellness. Here are just a few of the park activities across the country that both family and adventure seekers will enjoy. 

-- Hike to a fire tower in Tippecanoe River State Park in Chicago.

-- Bring the kids to learn about the Historic River Landing Trail and Lewis & Clark Trail of Discovery in Arrow Rock State Historic Site in Missouri.

-- Join the Great Blue Heron Loop Trail First Day 5K race at Haw River State Park in North Carolina.

-- Take an easy to moderate leisure hike through the maritime forest and scenes from Long Island Sound at Hallock State Park Preserve in New York.

-- Go birding at a lagoon and view native plant gardens along the dunes and beach trails at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area in California.

For more information about the First Day Hikes and to search for participating events near you, visit the America’s State Parks website. The site offers a convenient U.S. map including highlighted events in each state. Each park summarizes all the details needed to plan your trip including the meeting location, time of event, trail details and more.

Once you pick your event, make sure to invite family and friends for a fun way to start the new year together. Make it an annual tradition, and don’t forget to share your adventures using the hashtag #FirstDayHikes in social media.

Find a First Day Hike near you.

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