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Celebrate the New Year with a First Day Hike in an Iowa State Park

Free, guided hikes will take place in 25 Iowa state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative. All 50 states will participate in the sixth annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with a guided outdoor exploration.

“We are excited to host First Day Hikes again as part of this effort to get people outdoors and into our parks,” says Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau. “These hikes are a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.”

Last year, more than 600 people began the year in an Iowa state park, hiking more than 1,100 total miles.

“And we had participants ranging in age from 8 weeks to 80-plus years,” adds Coffelt.

Hikers can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, and experience spectacular views, beautiful settings and the cultural treasures offered by Iowa’s state parks.  

Staff and volunteers will lead First Day Hikes in Iowa’s 25 participating state parks. Hikes will average one to two miles or longer depending on the location. Details about the hikes can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/firstdayhikes  and to see a comprehensive map of First Day Hikes across the country, visit www.stateparks.org  Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes.

Iowa First Day Hikes will take place at the following times at these 25 state parks:

NORTHWEST

  • Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, 11:00 a.m.
  • Dolliver Memorial State Park, 9:30 a.m.
  • Gitchie Manitou State Preserve, 1:00 p.m.
  • Ledges State Park, 11:00 a.m.
  • Lewis and Clark State Park, 9:00 a.m.
  • McIntosh Woods State Park, 1:00 p.m.
  • Prairie Rose State Park, 5:30 p.m.
  • Springbrook State Park, 10:00 a.m.
  • Stone State Park, 10:30 a.m.

SOUTHWEST

  • Green Valley State Park, 10:00 a.m.
  • Lake Anita State Park, 9:00 a.m.
  • Waubonsie State Park, 1:00 p.m.
  • Wilson Island State Recreation Area, 1:00 p.m.     

SOUTHEAST

  • Honey Creek Resort, 1:00 p.m.
  • Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, 10:00 a.m.
  • Lake Darling State Park, 10:00 a.m.
  • Walnut Woods State Park, 9:00 a.m.

NORTHEAST

  • Cedar Rock State Park, 1:00 p.m.
  • Lake Macbride State Park, 1:00 p.m.
  • Maquoketa Caves State Park, 1:00 p.m.
  • Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, 1:00 p.m.
  • Pikes Peak State Park, 1:00 p.m.
  • Pine Lake State Park, 9:00 a.m.
  • Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area, 10:00 a.m.
  • Yellow River State Forest, 10:00 a.m.

“America’s state parks provide havens for young and old alike to explore the beauty and serenity of nature through outdoor recreation,” says Lewis Ledford, Executive Director of the National Association of State Park Directors. “Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while discovering beautiful public lands in every state.”

Last year, more than 55,000 people participated on guided hikes that covered over 133,000 miles on 1,100 hikes across the country.

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