Pennsylvania residents are invited to kick off 2020 by putting their best foot forward in one of the Keystone State’s many picturesque parks.
State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) officials on Thursday said they plan to join hikers throughout the state as the department again sponsors free, guided hikes in 39 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative.
“This is DCNR’s largest offering of hikes to date: a total of 45 hikes designed to remind people our state parks and forests are open for healthy outdoor adventures in all four seasons, including winter,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said in a press release. “They are a great way to make a resolution to enjoy nature and get more exercise.”
Hikers are invited to snap photos and share their experience on social media using the hashtag #FirstDayHikePA.
Here’s a list of Pennsylvania state parks participating during daylight hours on January 1, 2020:
Bald Eagle, Beltzville, Black Moshannon, Blue Knob, Caledonia, Canoe Creek, Codorus, Colonel Denning, Cook Forest, Cowans Gap, Delaware Canal, Gifford Pinchot, Greenwood Furnace, Hills Creek, Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center, Jennings Environmental Education Center, Keystone, Kings Gap Environmental Education Center, Kinzua Bridge, Lackawanna, Laurel Hill, Lehigh Gorge, Little Buffalo, Lyman Run, Marsh Creek, Moraine, Nescopeck, Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center, Ohiopyle, Parker Dam, Pine Grove Furnace, Prince Gallitzin, Pymatuning, Racoon Creek, R.B. Winter, Shawnee, Sinnemahoning, and Trough Creek.
Those looking to get a head start on their New Year’s health can start the night before, on New Year’s Eve. Presque Isle State Park will host an “easy-going” hike that night, with a mid-hike celebration planned in an area offering full view of Presque Isle Bay and the Erie skyline. Spanning not more than three miles, this hike will begin at 11 p.m. on Dec. 31, and end 12:30 a.m.
Pennsylvania state park staff and volunteers lead the hikes, which are usually about one or two miles, but can be longer depending on the park and its terrain.
“Last year, we hosted over 800 participants who hiked almost 1,900 miles throughout Pennsylvania,” Dunn said. “Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of Pennsylvania’s state parks on New Year’s Day!”
Organized by the National Association of State Park Directors to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state parks, all 50 states have cooperatively sponsored First Day Hikes since 2012.
“America’s state parks are stunning year-round, but there’s nothing quite like a First Day Hike to really take in the great outdoors and kick off the New Year in a healthy way” said National Association of State Park Directors President Linda Lanterman. “On January 1, grab your family and friends, lace up those boots and seek out a new adventure at a state park. Friendly staff and spectacular views will surely be waiting for you.”
A complete listing of Pennsylvania’s First Day Hikes, including hike starting times, durations, and type terrain to be traveled, can be found at Pennsylvania First Day Hikes.