Last year, the inaugural First Day Hikes were such a hit in state parks all across America that the Department of Natural Resources will be ringing in 2013 with similar events at park systems in all 50 states. From Florida to Alaska and Maine to California, over 14,000 people celebrated the beginning of 2012 by hiking in a state park, choosing from over 400 sponsored hikes. Nationwide, participants hiked over 30,000 miles, enjoying a diversity of landscapes and a variety of temperatures.
On this New Year's Day 2013, America's State Parks has announced that all 50 state park systems will again sponsor guided First Day Hike programs. First Day Hikes offer you a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the New Year with family and friends.
Studies have proven that getting outdoors is a great way to relax and recharge the body, mind, and spirit, a perfect New Year activity. America's State Parks started this program with the hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will not be just a once off, but instead become part of your regular exercise routine going forward.
Most First Day Hikes are moderate in difficulty, ranging from one to three miles. All are free, though some parks may have entrance fees. If you live near Rapid City, South Dakota, you can snowshoe on the Mickelson Trail starting at the Englewood Trailhead. The hike will last approximately 2 hours and it is a hike at your own speed. Snowshoes and instruction will be provided before the hike takes off.
Currently there are 657 First Day Hikes planned across the US. You can find a hike near you using the online map at America's State Parks website. So why not spend the first day of 2013 outside and supporting your local state park at the same time. If you do, let me know!