Take a First Day Hike to celebrate the New Year!
Looking for a fun way to explore the outdoors on New Years Day? Perhaps even a new tradition? Maybe you’re New Years Resolution is to get outdoors more?
Look into taking a First Day Hike at one of Pennsylvania’s many state parks to start the year off right. These planned hikes at select state parks are guided by staff and volunteers from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and they’re free. The goal is to help promote healthy lifestyles and getting people outdoors year-round.
On January 1, 2020, First Day Hikes will be held at 38 state parks, eight of which are in the Pennsylvania Wilds region!
Allegheny National Forest & Surrounds
The following state parks are situated in the Allegheny National Forest and Surrounds landscape of the Pennsylvania Wilds, flanking the Commonwealth’s only national forest.
Kinzua Bridge State Park
296 Viaduct Road, Kane, PA 16735
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Walk along the General Kane Hiking Trail. This hike is about 1.5 miles and is considered an easy to moderate walk in the woods. During the hike, look for signs of wildlife in the area. This trail is in the “open to hunting” area, so participants are asked to wear orange hats and vests. Wear appropriate footwear and dress for the weather. In case of a deep snow event, a limited number of snowshoes are available. Meet at the Visitor Center Lobby. For more info, click here.
Cook Forest & The Ancients
The following state park is situated in the Cook Forest and the Ancients landscape of the Pennsylvania Wilds, an area known for its old growth forest cathedral.
Cook Forest State Park
113 River Road, Cooksburg, PA 16217-0120
Hike along the picturesque Tom’s Run Valley onto Liggett Trail. View the lightly traveled old growth forested wetlands in its full winter array. This is a great time to observe tracks of animals seldom seen in other times of the year. Program will be conducted by Friends of Cook Forest starting at the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom. Bring snowshoes if the snow is deep! For more info, click here.
The following state parks are situated in the Dark Skies landscape of the Pennsylvania Wilds, where visitors can view the stars within an internationally-certified dark sky.
Lyman Run State Park
454 Lyman Run Road, Galeton, PA 16922-9301
Join the Friends of Lyman Run on a family nature hike with easy walking in search of signs of winter activity by animals along with stream ecology and winter tree identification. For more info, click here.
Sinnemahoning State Park & Wildlife Center
4843 Park Road, Austin, PA 16720
Take an easy 2.5-mile guided hike on fairly level trails scouting for dens, nests, and other animal traces as you learn about additional outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the coming year. Dress for the weather and bring water. Recommended for adults and children age 8 and over. Well-behaved dogs on short leashes are welcome. Meet at the Wildlife Center. For more info, click here.
The following state park is situated in the Elk Country landscape of the Pennsylvania Wilds, where visitors can find the largest wild elk herd in the northeast.
Parker Dam State Park
28 Fairview Road, Penfield, PA 15849-9799
This is a 1.7 mile hike on moderate terrain. In the event of deep snow a limited number of snowshoes will be available. Meet at the park office. For more info, click here.
The following state parks are situated in the I-80 Frontier landscape of the Pennsylvania Wilds, which spans the entire southern width of the region.
Bald Eagle State Park
149 Main Park Road, Howard, PA 16841-3508
10 – 11:30 a.m. and 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Join the park naturalist for a 2-mile hike that will wind through the fields and forests in search of winter wildlife. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy footwear and bring a water bottle. This hike is rated moderate with a few hills along the way and a rocky trail in places. Meet at the Environmental Learning Center, which will open 30 minutes before each hike starts. For more info, click here.
Black Moshannon State Park
4216 Beaver Road, Philipsburg, PA 16866-9519
10 – 11 a.m.
Take a one mile hike on the mostly flat Lake Loop Trail. The trail will circle around the lake where participants can look for signs of wildlife and see an active beaver lodge up close. Wear appropriate footwear as there will be some rocks and roots across the trail. Meet at the beach. For more info, click here.
Pine Creek Valley & the PA Grand Canyon
The following state park is situated in the Pine Creek Valley and PA Grand Canyon landscape of the Pennsylvania Wilds, home of the Pine Creek Rail Trail.
Hills Creek State Park
111 Spillway Road, Wellsboro, PA 16901-9676
This slow-paced, family-oriented hike will be less than 1.5 miles in length. If conditions warrant, limited snowshoes will be available or you are encouraged to bring your own. Also, back this year, is the 5K Fun Run around the lake. It’s a no frills no cost run where you record your own time and have some fun challenging your friends to some healthy competition or just challenge yourself to healthy activity. The sledding hill is nearby and you can explore more trails or the plowed campground roads throughout the park. For more info, click here.
Why not start new holiday traditions in 2020 by taking your family and friends on a family-friendly First Day Hike at one of these participating Pennsylvania state parks?
Check out the DCNR events calendar for information on hikes near you.
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