State Parks to Ring in New Year with First Day Hikes

Raleigh

North Carolina’s New Year tradition of family adventure, exercise and reconnection with nature continues in 2019 with First Day Hikes throughout the state parks system on Jan. 1.

More than 40 guided hikes are scheduled for New Year’s Day, ranging from short “leg-stretchers” to multi-mile rambles, most featuring educational programs led by rangers along the way. All state parks will be open on the holiday.

In North Carolina, this popular tradition began at Eno River State Park more than 40 years ago. Eno River’s first day hike alone draws more than 800 visitors.

“First Day Hikes are a time for the whole family or a group of friends to enjoy our state’s outstanding natural resources together,” said Dwayne Patterson, state parks director. “This is a great opportunity to introduce your children or a friend to hiking and start your year off right with fresh air and exercise.”

Each state park and state recreation area puts its own stamp on First Day Hikes. Follow up a hike at Dismal Swamp State Park with hot chocolate and cookies or brave the ice and snow for a hike at Elk Knob for spectacular views. Learn about some of our Piedmont’s flora and fauna at Haw River or discover the fire-dependent ecology of longleaf pine forests at Carvers Creek. Explore Goose Creek’s Spanish moss-draped live oaks or explore Medoc Mountain in the heart of the state.

As an added bonus, visitors involved with the North Carolina State Parks 100-Mile Challenge – to walk, hike, paddle, cycle or otherwise explore 100 miles in the state parks – can add First Day Hikes mileage to their totals. First Day Hikes are also a great time to get started on your own New Year’s resolutions with the 100-mile challenge. Details about the 100-Mile Challenge can be found at www.nc100miles.org

Nationally, First Day Hikes is promoted by America’s State Parks and the National Association of State Park Directors, with more than 400 hikes scheduled in state parks across the country. 

A complete list of First Day Hikes in North Carolina can be found at https://www.ncparks.gov/first-day-hikes.
 

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