Celebrate the New Year with a ‘First Day Hike’ in the PA Wilds
Make your first steps of the New Year ones full of exploration and enjoyment.
Participate in a “First Day Hike” in the Pennsylvania Wilds, where you can meander the trails of the Commonwealth’s public lands with knowledgeable staff from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) or simply with a group of friends.
This is the perfect way to kick off 2019 with a healthy start, as these hikes are part of a national effort to promote healthy lifestyles and get people outdoors in all seasons.
The groups hikes are guided by state park staff or volunteers and include both family and dog-friendly adventures, as well as more strenuous outings for those looking for a challenge!
Below is a list of First Day Hikes being offered at state parks in the Pennsylvania Wilds to help you find your New Year’s adventure.
And once you’ve completed your First Day Hike, you can share it on social media to encourage others to make time for the great outdoors. Simply use #FirstDayHikePA, #GetOutdoorsPA, and #PAWilds in your posts!
BALD EAGLE STATE PARK
149 Main Park Road, Howard, PA 16841-3508
10 – 11:30 AM – Check out Bald Eagle State Park, located along the I-80 Frontier of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The park naturalist will be guiding a 2-mile hike along the Skyline Trail, taking participants through the mixed hardwood/hemlock forest while looking for wildlife. Snow shoes will be available for use, based on weather conditions. The hike is described as moderate and includes a few hills and rocky trail areas. Participants should wear sturdy footwear, dress for the weather, and bring water along for the hike. Meet at the Nature Inn.
PARKER DAM STATE PARK
28 Fairview Road, Penfield, PA 15849-9799
11 AM – 12:30 PM – Traverse the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Trail at Parker Dam State Park, located along the Elk Scenic Drive on the I-80 Frontier, to see the northern section of the park and the former CCC Camp S-73, now the Organized Group Tenting Area. Based on weather, a limited number of snowshoes will be available. Meet at parking area near CCC Museum/Spillway.
Allegheny National Forest & Surrounds
KINZUA BRIDGE STATE PARK
296 Viaduct Road, Kane, PA 16735
10 AM – 12 PM – Take in the Kinzua Experience in the Allegheny National Forest & Surrounds with a healthy walk at Kinzua Bridge State Park. The General Kane Hiking Trail offers an easy to moderate walk in the woods, and along the path participants are encouraged to look for signs of area wildlife. Due to the fact that this trail is in the “open to hunting” area, hikers should wear orange hats and vests, in addition to appropriate footwear and attire. Meet at the Visitor Center Lobby. Coffee and hot chocolate provided after the walk in the Visitor Center Classroom.
SINNEMAHONING STATE PARK
4843 Park Road, Austin, PA 16720
12 – 2 PM – Enjoy the beauty of Elk Country’s First Fork Valley while searching for signs and traces of local wildlife during a 2.5-mile hike along the Lowlands Trail at Sinnemahoning State Park. The hike is rated easy, with some hills and wooded paths, and is best suited for ages 5 and up. Participants should dress for the weather, wearing layers and sturdy waterproof boots, and should also bring a bottle of water and a snack. Meet at the Park Office and Wildlife Center.
Pine Creek Valley & PA Grand Canyon
HILLS CREEK STATE PARK
111 Spillway Road, Wellsboro, PA 16901-9676
1 – 2:30 PM – Explore the Pine Creek Valley & PA Grand Canyon in winter with a short hike (or short run) at Hills Creek State Park, a stone’s throw from Scenic Route 6. A slow-paced and family-oriented 1.5-mile hike will be offered, and snowshoes will be provided based on necessity. A 5K Fun Run around the lake will also take place, and participants are able to record their own times while having fun challenging friends to some healthy competition. Limited hot chocolate will be provided.
BEFORE YOU GO
Some First Day Hikes require advance registration, and weather conditions could impact scheduled events. Contact information is available through the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) website. Learn about more activities taking place at Pennsylvania State Parks at https://events.dcnr.pa.gov/calendar/day/2019/1/1.
If there are no First Day Hikes near you, consider organizing your own! You can use these resources provided by DCNR to help you plan your outing: