Put this on the top of your New Year’s Resolutions list: Take a hike!

America’s State Parks is promoting a “First-Day Hikes” program that offers guided hikes in state parks in all 50 states on January 1, 2019.

According to the group, First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park on the outskirts of Boston. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is known to have a very progressive state parks department and the idea was to encourage healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation in its state parks.

A Ranger-led hike drew 100 happy hikers on a First Day Hike at Carpinteria State Beach.
A Ranger-led hike drew 100 happy hikers on a First Day Hike at Carpinteria State Beach.

Nearly 1,000 First-Day Hikes took place in all 50 states last New Year’s Day, reports the America’s State Parks organization. Visit the California State Parks site for a List of First Day Hikes in California State Parks

I’m particularly fond of–some would say obsessed with–hiking in California State Parks. California boasts 27o state parks and I’m the only one to have visited and written about each and every one of them. California State Parks comprise the nation’s second largest and second most visited park system, right behind the National Park system,

First a Trailmaster tip of the cap to all of you hikers in states with cold winters. I’ve hiked Blue Hills Reservation—our inspiration for First-Day Hike—in winter and can assure you a degree of fortitude is necessary, even all-layered-up in the best of modern fabrics. Still, it can be a whole lot of fun to hit the trail when the hiking season is supposedly long over.

As for the rest of you hikers who live in warmer climes—no excuses. Get off the couch and get outdoors in a nearby state park! Remember these are guided hikes, so you get a special insider’s tour, have the opportunity to meet fellow hikers, and don’t have to worry about finding your way or getting lost in the woods.

What better way to start the new year than with a hike?

First-Day Hikes range from easy nature walks to moderate rambles to challenging treks. Check out the schedule for hikes in your state and choose the right hike for you at the America’s State Parks site. The program is promoted by the National Association of State Park Directors, comprised of 50 state park directors.

In California, for example, you can explore the vast Anza-Borrego Desert State Park or hike amidst the coastal redwoods in Van Damme State Park. From Bahia Honda State Park in Florida to Fort Townsend State Park in Washington, there are hikes on the coast and hikes in the nation’s majestic mountains and forests.

Happy New Year and Happy Trails.


John McKinney #Hike On