It’s a new year and while we’re busy scratching down a list of resolutions, there’s one goal you can really, actually make happen: getting outside more. It’s easy to do and you can get a jump-start on it right at the beginning of 2017. ‘First Day Hikes’ are fast-growing in popularity across Wisconsin at many state park and forest properties. Each year on January 1, rangers, naturalists, volunteers and other DNR staff lead guided hikes through park and forest properties along snow covered trails. These hikes are a perfect way to take-in Wisconsin’s raw, wintery beauty and solitude. They’re also a fun way to burn-off those Pumpkin Pie and Champagne calories from the night’s festivities before. You’ll escape and trek into a quiet, natural wonderland to learn about the land’s special and unique features. Make sure to bundle up, drink water and don’t forget to bring your camera and some snowshoes if you’ve got ‘em. Across the board nationwide, 41,000 people got outside on the first day of the New Year to explore their local public lands. Last year, we had some 507 people join us across ten different state park and forest properties to hike a combined 1,191 miles. Most ‘First Day Hikes’ start in the later morning and early-to-mid afternoon, so you can sleep in a bit if you had quite the prior evening of celebration. Some parks waive admission fees on January 1, 2017 for these events as well. Afterwards, hot cocoa, treats and a warm bonfire caps off a splendid way to spend the first day of the New Year.
So go get your hike on, grab your family and friends, load up the car and get out to join us at one of these state parks on January 1, 2017:
- Interstate State Park |9am-11am| Meet at the Camp Interstate Shelter
- Newport State Park |10am-12pm| Meet at the Visitor Center Parking Lot
- Peninsula State Park |10am-12pm| Meet at the Weborg Shelter
- Pattison State Park |1pm-3pm| Meet at the Shelter Building Near the Main Parking Lot
- Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit |11am-1pm| Meet at the Forest Headquarters
- Kettle Moraine State Forest, Lapham Peak Unit |11am-2pm|Meet at the Hausman Nature Center
- Kettle Moraine State Forest, Pike Lake Unit |12pm-2pm| Meet at the Beach Parking Lot
- Mirror Lake State Park |12pm-2pm| Meet at the Park Office
- Buckhorn State Park |1pm-3pm| Meet at the South Picnic Shelter Parking Lot
- Richard Bong State Recreation Area |3pm-4pm| Meet at the Visitor Center
- Devil’s Lake State Park |3:30pm-5pm| Meet at the Steinke Basin Parking Lot
- Stower 7 Lakes State Trail - 10:00 am - 1:00 pm - Meet at the Nye trail parking lot
*Robby Degraff works with the Wisconsin DNR at the Lapham Peak and Pike Lake Units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. On the side, he runs his own travel blog at RobbyAroundTheWorld.com where he captures travels both here in the U.S. and worldwide.