Start The Year Connecting with Nature — First Day Hikes

Source: North Carolina State Parks,
Source: North Carolina State Parks,

North Carolina State Parks Offer Hiking, Special Events, to Herald New Year

A North Carolina New Year’s tradition of family adventure, exercise and reconnection with nature continues in 2018 with First Day Hikes in North Carolina State Parks on January 1, 2018.

More than 40 guided hikes are scheduled in the state parks system on New Year’s Day, ranging from short “leg-stretchers” to several-mile rambles, most of them featuring educational programs led by rangers along the way. All state parks will be open on the holiday.

On January 1 this year, thousands of hikers walked several thousand miles on state park trails, exploring state parks and state recreation areas in brisk winter weather.

In North Carolina, this popular tradition began at Eno River State Park more than 40 years ago, an annual event that now draws more than 800 visitors.

Said Mike Murphy, state parks director:

“First Day Hikes offer an opportunity to connect fitness and the outdoors as the holiday season draws to a close. Family time surrounded by our state’s rich natural resources is a great way to spend the day. It’s also a reminder that your state parks are a year-round resource for recreation, wellness and learning.”

Each state park and state recreation area puts its own stamp on First Day Hikes. Follow up a hike at the Dismal Swamp with hot chocolate and cookies, or brave the ice and snow for a hike at Mount Mitchell, our state’s first state park. Learn about some of the Piedmont’s flora and fauna at Mayo River, or discover the fire-dependent ecology of longleaf pine forests at Weymouth Woods. Cruise on a ferry to start a hike at Hammock’s Beach, or explore the new section of Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain.

Visit the North Carolina State Parks website to see the list of planned events for January 1, or choose “Select A Park” to see what is offered at your favorite park.

Be sure to dress according to the weather, wear comfortable shoes, and take along water or snacks. If taking along a cellular phone, have it charged (coverage may vary across state).

As an added bonus, visitors involved with the North Carolina State Parks 100-Mile Challenge — to walk, hike, paddle, cycle or otherwise explore 100 miles in the state parks — can add First Day Hikes mileage to their totals. Details about the 100-Mile Challenge may be found at

Nationally, First Day Hikes is promoted by America’s State Parks and the National Association of State Park Directors, with more than 400 hikes scheduled in state parks across the country.

North Carolina State Parks manages more than 232,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. The state parks system welcomes more than 18 million visitors annually.


Source: Katie Hall,

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Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.