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.
“It’s just an amazing way to get things started for a New Year,” Linda Lanterman, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism state park director, said. “It’s great for people to get out into nature on the first day of the year. We’ve found people who go on these First Day Hikes are very likely to come back and do more hiking throughout the year. For many, that First Day Hike has been the first time they’ve hiked in a state park. It’s a fantastic introduction.”
All participants in the hikes will receive free “Hike Local” long-sleeved T-shirts. 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.
For more information, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/Special-Events/First-Day-Hikes, or visit state parks’ facebook pages.
Area First Day Hikes scheduled for Jan. 1, 2019
- Clinton State Park — Meet at park office for the 1pm hike on North Shore Trail. Moderate terrain, up to 2 miles. Ages 5 and up.
- Milford State Park — Meet at group shelter parking lot for 1pm hike on Eagle Ridge Trail. Easy to moderate terrain, 2 3/4-miles. All ages welcome.
- Perry State Park — Meet at Lake View parking lot for the 10am hike on the Nature Trail. Easy to moderate terrain, 2 1/2-miles. Ages 8 and older.
- Pomona State Park — Meet at park office for the 2pm hike around several campgrounds. Easy to moderate terrain, 1.5-miles. All ages welcome.
- Tuttle Creek State Park — Meet at park office for the 10:30am hike on Western Heritage Trail. Easy terrain, 1 to 3 1/2 miles. All ages welcome.