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Join a First Day Hike on New Year’s Day

DES MOINES – What’s the best way to spend New Year’s Day? Take a First Day Hike in one of 27 participating Iowa state parks! 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.  

All 50 states are hosting hikes as part of America's First Day Hikes initiative. In its seventh year, the national event 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,” said Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa DNR’s 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 1,200 people began the year in an Iowa state park, hiking more than 1,100 total miles.

Staff and volunteers will lead free, guided First Day Hikes in Iowa’s 27 participating state parks. Some hikes will include wildlife viewing and hot beverages. Hikes will average one to two miles or longer depending on the location. Details about the hikes can be found at To see a comprehensive national map of First Day Hikes, visit  Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes or #IowaStateParks.


Iowa First Day Hikes will take place at the following 27 state parks:


Big Creek State Park

Dolliver Memorial State Park

Gitchie Manitou State Preserve

Ledges State Park

Lewis and Clark State Park

Prairie Rose State Park

Springbrook State Park

Stone State Park


Green Valley State Park

Lake Anita State Park

Viking Lake State Park

Waubonsie State Park

Wilson Island State Recreation Area      


Elk Rock State Park

Honey Creek Resort State Park

Lacey-Keosauqua State Park

Lake Darling State Park

Lake Wapello State Park

Walnut Woods State Park


Bellevue State Park

Cedar Rock State Park

Maquoketa Caves State Park

Mines of Spain State Recreation Area

Pikes Peak State Park

Pine Lake State Park

Volga River State Recreation Area

Yellow River State Forest


"America’s State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to discover the tranquility and beauty of nature through outdoor recreation,” National Association of State Park Directors Executive Director, Lewis Ledford said. “Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while exploring beautiful public lands in every state.” Last year, more than 62,000 people took part in guided hikes that covered over 114,165 miles on 1,300 different hikes across the country.