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Iowa State Parks Celebrates the New Year with First Day Hikes on Jan 1

  • 12/29/2015 6:45:00 AM
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Des Moines – Iowa State Parks will sponsor free, guided hikes in 19 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of the fifth annual First Day Hikes initiative. 

“First Day Hikes are a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family,” said Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau.  “What better place to ring in the New Year than in one of our beautiful state parks? We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and get healthy.”

Iowa’s state parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will provide an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. 

Staff and volunteers will lead First Day Hikes in the following state parks:

Gitchie Manitou State Preserve
Stone State Park
Dolliver Memorial State Park
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area
Ledges State Park
Springbrook State Park
Prairie Rose State Park 

Wilson Island State Recreation Area
Green Valley State Park
Waubonsie State Park               

Walnut Woods State Park
Honey Creek State Park
Honey Creek Resort
Lake Darling State Park 

Backbone State Park
Mines of Spain State Recreation Area
Pikes Peak State Park
Yellow River State Forest
Maquoketa Caves State Parks

Hikes will average one to two miles or longer depending on the location.  Most of the hikes are pet friendly and welcome people of all ages.

“For those concerned about the big game that day, with the exception of one park, hikes will be completed before kickoff,” said Coffelt. “For those of you who aren’t interested in the Rose Bowl, we have another rose for you to consider. Prairie Rose State Park in Shelby County will hold a special owl prowl hike beginning at 5 p.m. Staff and hikers will do their best to call in owls or at least get them to ‘talk back’ during this special hike.”

First Day Hike participants are encouraged to log their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes and #IowaStateParks. Details about Iowa’s hikes can be found at 

All 50 states will participate in this fifth annual event. To see a comprehensive map of First Day Hikes across the country, visit