Outdoors

New Year's Day hikes offered at NC state parks

Posted December 16, 2014

Jeff Simpson, of Raleigh, is hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise money for cancer research after his 17-year-old daughter died from leukemia.
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— North Carolina state parks and recreation areas are holding a "First Day Hikes" event on New Year's Day. 

The tradition, which began three years ago, allows hikers to join rangers and volunteers to walk more than 10,000 miles on state park trails on Jan. 1. 

More than 40 hikes are scheduled, ranging from short leg-stretchers to six-mile treks, many of them offering interpretive programs along the way. All seasonal state park facilities will remain open on the holiday.

“The relatively new tradition of First Day Hikes has been embraced by people in North Carolina as an opportunity to begin the new year with a healthy activity, to shed the stress of the holidays and to reconnect with the outdoors and the rich natural resources that distinguish North Carolina,” Mike Murphy, state parks director, said in a statement.

“It also serves as a reminder that state parks are always available for exercise, family activities and education for more than 14 million visitors each year," he added. 

Each state park and state recreation area puts its own stamp on its First Day Hike.

At Haw River State Park in Guilford County, hikers will preview a new 3.2-mile trail that will open for general use in coming months.

Crowders Mountain State Park will make use of a six-mile trail that links park lands in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Hikers often see fresh snow at Elk Knob and Mount Mitchell state parks, while Pettigrew State Park is a seasonal home to flocks of wintering waterfowl.

The Eno River Association will offer long and short hikes as part of a decades-old tradition at Eno River State Park.

To find a First Day Hike in your area, visit North Carolina State Parks' website

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  • Classified Dec 16, 2014

    Great idea! Sounds like a lot of fun.

  • archmaker Dec 16, 2014

    that's to offset the state's New Year's Day hike on gas taxes!