State parks to offer first day hikes

Published 3:17 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

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 Jan. 1.

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 Jan. 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.

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“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,” said Mike Murphy, state parks director. “It’s also a reminder that your state parks are a year-round resource for recreation, wellness and learning.”

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 can be found at

A complete list of First Day Hikes in North Carolina can be found at

– submitted by Katie Hall/NC Dept. of Cultural Resources