Begin 2013 in a healthy and invigorating way by participating in America’s State Parks First Day Hikes in one of 13 Missouri state parks. The free guided hikes on Jan. 1 offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year connecting with the outdoors and getting great exercise.
“Hiking is a great way to curb your cabin fever and enjoy nature, and Missouri state park trails offer the perfect place to do both,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks. “We had a tremendous response last year and we hope even more people will begin a tradition of welcoming the New Year with a state park hike.”
First Day Hikes are part of a national effort by America’s State Parks to get people outdoors into state parks. People from all 50 states are expected to join the effort to celebrate the New Year with a hike in a state park.
Thirteen Missouri state parks will offer guided hikes ranging from a half mile to two miles and varying from thick forests to the open prairie. A list of state parks with guided hikes on Jan. 1 follows.
- Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, Wildwood. Meet at 1 p.m. at the Alta Shelter parking lot across from the Hawthorn Trailhead; hike on Hawthorn Trail will be 1.25 miles.
- Crowder State Park, Trenton. Meet at 1 p.m. at the Redbud Trailhead; hike on Redbud Trail will be 2 miles.
- Graham Cave State Park, Danville. Meet at 12 noon at the park office; hike on Woodland Way and Indian Glade trails will be 2 miles.
- Grand Gulf State Park, Thayer. Meet at 1 p.m. at the parking lot; hike on Natural Bridge Trail will be 1.5 miles.
- Knob Noster State Park, Knob Noster. Meet at 10 a.m. at the park visitor center; hike on Discovery and North Loop trails will be 2 miles.
- Montauk State Park, Salem. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Montauk Lake Trailhead; hike on Montauk Lake Trail will be .80 mile.
- Pomme de Terre State Park, Pittsburg. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Hermitage area campground showerhouse; hike on Cedar Bluff Trail will be 1.5 miles.
- Prairie State Park, Mindenmines. Meet at 1 p.m. at the park nature center; hike on Gayfeather Trail will be 1.6 miles.
- Roaring River State Park, Cassville. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Ozark Chinquapin Nature Center; hike on Fire Tower, Deer Leap, and River trails will be 2.5 miles.
- Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Columbia. The park will feature eight different hikes:
- Meet at 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. at the Gans Creek Trailhead for a 1-mile hike on part of the Gans Creek Wild Area Trail System.
- Meet at 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. at the playground parking lot for 1.25-mile hike on parts of Deer Run and Springbrook trails.
- Meet at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. at the Devil’s Icebox parking lot for a .50-hike on parts of Devil’s Icebox and Sinkhole trails.
- Meet at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. at the special use area for a 2-mile hike on part of the Gans Creek Wild Area Trail System.
- Stockton State Park, Dadeville. Meet at 1 p.m. at the Umber Ridge Trailhead; hike on Umber Ridge Trail will be 1.75 miles.
- Van Meter State Park, Miami. Meet at 10 a.m. at the large shelter house parking lot; hike on Earthworks Trail will be 1.25 miles.
- Washington State Park, De Soto. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Thunderbird Lodge; hike on 1000 Steps Trail will be 1.5 miles.
America’s State Parks and Missouri State Parks are committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.
Anyone planning to enjoy a First Day Hike at one of the 13 Missouri state parks hosting a hike should dress appropriately for the weather. For more information on First Day Hikes as well as all Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. For information on the First Day Hikes initiative across the nation, visit americasstateparks.org.
Logo courtesy Missouri Department of Natural Resources