First Day Hikes, get Outdoors on January 1st!

Kick off 2016 with a winter hike in an Iowa State Park! 

Join others around the country participating in America's State Parks First Day Hikes, January 1, 2016.



First Day Hikes Map, Iowa
America's State Parks: Find Hikes Nationwide
Iowa's First Day Hikes
More detailed information (time, meeting places, length of hike, etc) can be found by scrolling down and choosing a hike.

NORTHWEST

1) Gitchie Manitou State Preserve
2) Stone State Park
3) Dolliver Memorial State Park
4) Brushy Creek State Recreation Area
5) Ledges State Park
6) Springbrook State Park (CEC)
19) Prairie Rose State Park

SOUTHWEST
7) Wilson Island State Recreation Area
8) Green Valley State Park
9) Waubonsie State Park

SOUTHEAST
10) Walnut Woods State Park
11) Honey Creek State Park
12) Honey Creek Resort
13) Lake Darling State Park

NORTHEAST
14) Backbone State Park
15) Mines of Spain State Recreation Area
16) Pikes Peak State Park
17) Yellow River State Forest
18) Maquoketa Caves State Park

Choose a hike for more information:
Time: 1 PM
Meeting Place: parking lot on Adams Ave
Length of Hike (miles): 1.5
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Information: 712-330-8127

Additional Information: Hikers will see remnants of CCC construction and wintering plant species of the area, hear history of the area and information about the State Preserves System and future development of the Bloodrun/Good Earth joint state park. Dress appropriately.
Trail Name: Buffalo Run Trail
Time: 10:30 AM
Meeting Place: parking lot near the park office; 150 yards inside the east entrance from Talbot Rd and Memorial Dr
Length of Hike (miles): 1
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Information: 712-255-4698

Additional Information: Join the Friends of Stone Park on a First Day Hike. Visitors may see signs of wildlife, prairie remnants, large oak trees and beautiful winter scenes. Dress appropriately. Hike is appropriate for children approximately 7 and older. Pets are welcome but must be on a leash.
Trail Name: Copperas Beds Trail
Time: 11 AM
Meeting Place: Copperas Bed trailhead by the South Lodge
Length of Hike (miles): 1
Difficulty: Moderate, will depend on the amount of snow on the ground.
Cancellation Information: 515-576-4258

Additional Information: First Day hikers can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, with views unimpeded by foliage. Wildlife and animal tracks might be spied during the hike. The hike should take about 45 minutes. Children welcome over the age of four unless carried by an adult, no strollers. Dress warmly. Wear layers of clothing and sturdy, warm hiking boots or shoes, as well as hats and gloves. Binoculars and a camera always come in handy, and remember to bring water and maybe a snack.
Time: 1 PM
Meeting Place: Prairie Resource Building
Length of Hike (miles): 1
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Information: 515-576-4258

Additional Information: First Day hikers can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, with views unimpeded by foliage. Wildlife and animal tracks might be spied during the hike. The hike should take about 45 minutes. Children welcome over the age of four unless carried by an adult, no strollers. Dress warmly. Wear layers of clothing and sturdy, warm hiking boots or shoes, as well as hats and gloves. Binoculars and a camera always come in handy, and remember to bring water and maybe a snack.
Trail Name: Lost Lake Interpretive Trail
Time: 11 AM
Meeting Place: Boone Wildlife Research Station; 1436 255th St, Boone
Length of Hike (miles): 2
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Information: 515-432-1852

Additional Information: Participants will hike the Lost Lake Interpretive Trail, enjoying the spectacular winter scenery of the Des Moines River valley. Hikers will look for and identify different species of animals and birds, stop at the five interpretive panels along the trail and talk about the information on each one, and learn a little about the history of Ledges State Park. Duration of the hike should be about an hour. Pets are welcome, but must be on a leash. Dress for the weather. Binoculars may come in handy. Snowshoes are welcome if conditions allow.
Time: 12 PM (Noon)
Meeting Place: the Conservation Educations Center classroom/office building; there will be signs directing participants
Length of Hike (miles): 2-3
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Information: 515-333-1342

Additional Information: Although Springbrook State Park is currently closed, the hike will take place on the Conservation Education Center grounds adjacent to the park. The hike will begin with a little information about the ed center and then take off for an observation hike that will include watersheds, ponds, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) buildings, stone stairs downhill, bridge over a brook and possibly off trail depending on participants’ abilities. Please bring your own water bottle and wear shoes that can get muddy.
Name of Trail: Chute Trail
Time: 9 AM
Meeting Place: Park Office
Length of Hike (miles): 1
Difficulty: Easy
Cancellation Information: 712-642-2069

Additional Information: Hike will go through cottonwood timber with chances to see natural reforestation occurring since the 2011 flood. Heavy snows may move the hike to a loop in the campground. Hot drinks will be offered after the hike. Pets are welcome but must be on a leash.
Trail Name: Green Valley State Park Trail
Time: 10 AM
Meeting Place: campground
Length of Hike (miles): Approximately 3.3
Difficulty: Easy
Cancellation Information: 641-782-5131

Additional Information: The hike will be on the newly paved trail on the eastern edge of Green Valley Lake from the parking lot east of the dam to the campground. The hike is very level throughout and should be an easy walk for people of all abilities. Hikers will likely see deer, turkey, geese, bald eagles and a variety of other animals. For those who do not want to hike the entire paved trail, a shuttle service will be offered at various locations along the trail. Hot chocolate, coffee and cookies will be available at the end of the hike in the campground. Pets are welcome, but must be on a leash. Children must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. Wear appropriate cold weather clothing and bring water and snacks you would like to enjoy on the hike. Cameras and binoculars come in handy, as you never know what you might find on the trail.
Trail Name: Off Road Time: 1 PM
Meeting Place: Wa-Shawtee Lodge
Length of Hike (miles): Approximately 2
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Information: 712-310-3460 and KMA Radio

Additional Information: Hikers will gather at the Wa-Shawtee Lodge for a little social time and a pre-hike warm beverage or snack, and then embark on a backwoods excursion in the undeveloped portion of the former Girls Scout camp. Although it’s not on a developed trail, this hike will mostly be through open woodland. Chances for wildlife viewing will be much greater on this route, and may be of particular interest to bird enthusiasts. Hikers will learn more about the park ecosystem, and the challenges that face those who manage it. Several DNR staff members will be along to answer questions. It will be a fun afternoon and a great chance to hike off a couple of holiday pounds. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Hikers should be prepared for around an hour of hiking in hilly terrain, and should dress in layers so that clothes can be removed as one warms up. A hiking stick and bottle of water will be handy, and cameras or binoculars are recommended. Stout footwear is a must, and waterproof boots are recommended for hiking through snow. Afterward, everyone will be responsible for consuming the remainder of the snacks, coffee and hot chocolate.
Trail Name: Bottomland Trail
Time: 9 AM
Meeting Place: Walnut Woods Lodge
Length of Hike (miles): Two distances -- 1 mile, easy; and 2.7 miles, moderate
Difficulty: Easy and moderate
Cancellation Information: 515-250-2048

Additional Information: The trails are mostly flat and traverses bottomland timber along the Raccoon River. Surface is a mowed path and may be snow covered. Wildlife viewing may be limited for time of season; however, hikers may see wintering bald eagles, deer and various winter birds. Please bring a water bottle and wear weather-appropriate clothing and boots/shoes. Pets must be on a leash and are not allowed in the lodge. Children must be accompanied by an adult and the hikes may not be appropriate for children under 5 years.
Trail Name: Campground Trail
Time: 1 PM
Meeting Place: North campground
Length of Hike (miles): 1
Difficulty: Easy
Cancellation Information: 641-724-3739

Additional Information: Likely to see deer and turkeys. Please bring water and dress for the weather.
Trail Name: Interpretive Trail
Time: 9 AM
Meeting Place: Activities Building
Length of Hike (miles): 1
Difficulty: Easy
Cancellation Information: 641-724-1490

Additional Information: This hike will focus on birding. Please wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing.
Trail Name: Main Trail
Time: 9 AM
Meeting Place: Lodge parking lot
Length of Hike (miles): 2
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Information: 319-694-2323

Additional Information: The hike will start at the lodge parking lot and follow the paved all-season trail towards the campground, up the hill to the new cabin entrance site, where hikers may have a chance to tour a cabin and look at where the new “Ding” Darling interpretive trail will go. The hike will continue to the goose beach overlook parking area and then head back to the lodge parking lot to conclude the hike. Hikers may see white-tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits, bald eagles and Canada geese, along with other birds and trees to identify. The hike may not be appropriate for children under 8 years; parents will need to use their discretion. Pets must be on a leash and are not permitted in the lodge or cabins. Hikers may want to bring water, snacks, camera and binoculars. Please wear sturdy footwear and clothing appropriate for the weather.
Trail Name: West Lake Trail and South Lake Campground
Time: 9 AM
Meeting Place: Park shop on south end of the park
Length of Hike (miles): 2
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Information: 563-924-2527

Additional Information: The West Lake Trail overlooks the lake in a heavy-wooded area. There is a variety of birds, eagles, deer and turkey, along with great views of the lake and woods. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather. Water, camera and binoculars might come in handy.
Trail Name: America’s State Tree Woodland Walk
Time: 1 PM
Meeting Place: EB Lyons Interpretive Center; 8991 Bellevue Heights, Dubuque
Length of Hike (miles): 1.5
Difficulty: Easy
Cancellation Information: 563-599-8475, Friends of Mines of Spain Facebook page and www.minesofspain.org

Additional Information: The hike will start at the interpretive center and go through tallgrass prairie, past trees and signage for all 50 states, with a fabulous view at top of trail. Coffee, hot chocolate and cookies will be available at end of hike. Pets must be on a leash and are not allowed in the interpretive center. Hikers are encouraged to bring their own water.

Trail Name: Weeping Rock Trail to Hickory Ridge Trail
Time: 1 PM
Meeting Place: Overlook parking lot at the park
Length of Hike (miles): 1 to 1.5
Difficulty: Easy
Cancellation Information: 563-880-4569
Additional Information: Hikers will see Indian mounds, a beautiful view of the Mississippi River and possibly area wildlife. Children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult. Pets are welcome, but must be on a leash. Please dress for the weather. Bring water and snowshoes if you have them.

Trail Name: Determined based on conditions
Time: 10 AM
Meeting Place: Forest Headquarters Building, 729 State Forest Road
Length of Hike (miles): 1 to 1.5
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Information: 563-586-2196

Additional Information Children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult. Pets are welcome, but must be on a leash. Please dress for the weather. Bring water and snowshoes if you have them; snowshoes will be available if you don't.
Trail Name: Forest Ridge Foot Trail
Time: 1 PM
Meeting Place: Shelter A
Length of Hike (miles): 1.8
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Information: 563-652-3783 or Jen@jacksonccb.com
Additional Information Hikers will pass Wye Cave to scenic vistas atop limestone bluffs overlooking Raccoon Creek. Portions of the trail have significant slope with some rough terrain. Pets are welcome, but must be on a leash. Please dress for the weather and bring water. The hike will last about an hour. This hike is hosted by Jackson County Conservation.
Trail Name: Prairie Rose
Time: 5 PM
Meeting Place: Park Office
Length of Hike (miles): 1
Difficulty: Easy
Cancellation Information: 712-773-2701
Additional Information: Hikers will be going on an “Owl Prowl” to see if they can call in some owls and get them to answer back. Pets are welcome, but must be on a leash. Please dress for the weather.