Arkansas State Parks will celebrate the new year with First Day Hikes. These hikes offer a chance for individuals and families to welcome the coming year outdoors while exercising and connecting with nature. For many, it has become an annual tradition. The National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) has grown the idea of starting the new year with a hike in a state park to as many as 45 state park systems across the country participating each year.
Arkansas State Parks has been a leading participant in the First Day Hikes program, with most of the state parks taking part. The program has also been expanded to include the New Year’s Day weekend, giving more people in Arkansas the chance to participate. The Arkansas State Parks will be conducting scheduled First Day Hikes during this period and will offer stickers to all the participants. This year, the event will take place from December 30th to January 1st and is open to both Arkansans and visitors.
The parks also ask that you take pictures of yourselves and share them on social media using the hashtags #ARStateParks and #FirstDayHikes. You can upload photos and videos to the Arkansas State Parks First Day Hikes website.
As of this writing, there are at least 59 First Day Hike Programs scheduled in the 52 Arkansas State Parks for January 1 alone. You can see them here.
The parks ask that you remember the following when visiting:
- When the parking lot is full, the park is full. We encourage you to consider planning your hikes on less-visited trails or off-peak times of the day. Consider having a Plan B in place.
- Dress for the weather. Wear and bring warm layers and sturdy shoes.
- Bring water and snacks.
- Avoid hiking if you are experiencing cold, flu, or COVID symptoms.
- Stay on designated trails. Shortcuts cause damage and are unsafe.
- Practice Leave No Trace principles.