What better way to kick off the New Year than by getting a jump start burning off those extra holiday calories in the great outdoors? Kansas state parks, including several in northeast Kansas, will have free, guided hikes on January first, as part of the nationwide First Day Hike initiative.
The guided First Day Hike is part of a program sponsored by America’s State Parks. The First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on New Year’s Day. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome New Year with friends and family. There are hundreds of scheduled First Day Hikes across the United States. Some Kansas hikes are listed below. More information about the First Day Hike program and other hikes around the United States visit, http://naspd.org.
“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks,” said Linda Lanterman, Parks division director for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks.”
All participants in the hikes will receive free “Hike Local” long-sleeved T-shirts, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Children must have adult supervision, and leashed pets are also welcome. Drinks and snacks will be provided during many hikes in Kansas, though hikers are encouraged to bring their own. Most First Day Hikes will take a family-friendly path, with park staff leading the hikers and educating them along the way. Many hikes will be along the shores of large lakes, rugged woodlands or broad native prairies. Odds of seeing bald eagles and other wildlife are high, so bring your binoculars.
The guided hikes are free but participants need a vehicle permit to drive into the park. Daily passes are $5 and sold at self-serve stations in the park. Some park offices will be open to sell daily passes or $25 annual passes. Parkgoers can also purchase a 12-month Kansas State Parks Passport (annual pass) when registering a vehicle.
To learn more about what Kansas state parks can offer you, visit ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks, or visit state parks’ facebook pages.
Nearby First Day Hikes scheduled for Jan. 1, 2020
- Clinton State Park — Meet at the entrance of Campground #3 at 10 a.m. to hike on the X-Country Ski Trail. The 1-mile route is through easy terrain; all ages welcome.
- Milford State Park– Meet at the Crystal Trail parking lot near the Walnut Grove Campground at 1 p.m. to hike on the Crystal Trail. The 2.18-mile trail includes moderate terrain and is open to hikers of all ages.
- Perry State Park – Meet at the day use area in the Wild Horse Campground at 10 a.m. to hike the 1.5-mile Jack-O-Lope Trail. The easy terrain is ideal for all ages.
- Pomona State Park– Meet at the park office at 1 p.m. for a 2-mile hike around several campgrounds. Hikers of all ages are welcome to enjoy the easy terrain.
- Tuttle Creek State Park– Meet at the park office at 10:30 a.m. to hike the Western Heritage Trail. This hike is open to hikers of all ages and includes easy terrain covering 1 to 3 miles.