Last updated on 6 December 2019
America’s State Parks are inviting everyone to start the new year by enjoying time spent in nature, and tapping into the health benefits of being outdoors. To make it easy, state parks in all 50 states – from Maine to California – are offering free guided First Day Hikes on January 1. The guided hikes are led by park staff members and volunteers who have expert knowledge of their respective locales.
The distance and the difficulty of the trails vary, from park to park, but the hikes are designed to benefit the entire family.
“It’s our way of wishing health and happiness for the coming new year,” said Lewis Ledford, executive director of the National Association of State Park Directors. “Recent research is confirming the benefits of spending just 30 minutes a week in nature, and what better way to start a new healthy habit for 2020 than taking advantage of hikes being offered in state parks across the nation. Our hope is that this event will stimulate a passion for the outdoors and a desire to explore our local treasures throughout the entire year.”
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.
“Each state enjoys unique outdoor features and wildlife on its public lands,” Ledford said. “And no matter your weather preference, whether it be snow in the north and across the Rockies, or mild temperatures across the south and southwest, you can experience it all with First Day Hikes.”
First Day Hikes began more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, which is a state park in Massachusetts.
America’s State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation to help address mental, emotional and physical health, especially among children. So, begin 2020 with a focus on your physical and mental well-being with a First Day Hike in one of America’s State Parks.