Photo: Last year nearly 55,000 Americans began the New Year by collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country on the guided hikes, like this group in New York. – Photo courtesy New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
Across the country, there exists a dedicated band of people who begin the new year with a hike. Some say it’s a refreshing way to start burning holiday calories. Others know it’s just fun to get outdoors.
First Day hikers welcome each new year by taking a long (or short) hike with family and friends, to start the year by connecting with each other and mother nature.
This year, they’re inviting others to take a hike, too.
At the beginning of 2018, the National Association of State Park Directors reported nearly 55,000 people rang in the New Year by collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country on First Day guided hikes.
Numerous others hiked state park trails throughout the day.
In many parts of the country, First Day hike programs have grown into an annual custom which now involves all 50 U.S. states and the state park systems that make free First Day hike programs available.
Guided First Day Hikes are led by knowledgeable state park staff and volunteers. The distance and rigor vary from park to park, but all hike programs aim to create a fun experience for the whole family.
Hikers are invited to savor the beauty of their state’s natural resources with an experienced guide and become inspired to take advantage of their local treasures throughout the year.
If you haven’t visited a state park recently, it’s a good time to start. America’s State Parks have been entrusted to preserve a variety of magnificent places from California to Maine, and North Dakota to Florida and all the states in between.
Thanks to an interactive map, wannabe hikers can easily find a guided hike in their home state. Click on the map for a First Day Hike here.
But . . . before you go, the American Hiking Society would like to remind you It’s good to plan ahead, especially if you’ll be hiking in cold weather. You can familiarize yourself with safe hiking skills before taking a step outside. Click here.
The key things to remember are to dress in layers, always wear a hat, and keep your water bottle next to your body to keep it from freezing. Don’t forget to take your sunscreen, and keep in mind that winter days are short and adjust your plans to daylight hours for safety.
Have a healthy, happy hike!