AUSTIN– Hit the trails at a state park on New Year’s Day and participate in a First Day Hike. As part of the national initiative, Texas State Parks will be hosting a variety of programs for the whole family to enjoy.
First Day Hikes at Texas’ state parks and natural areas aim to help visitors commit to their New Year’s resolutions to get healthy.
“There is no better way to ring in 2019 than outside in Texas,” said Rodney Franklin, Director of Texas State Parks. “Home to some of the best views and vistas in Texas, we invite you to spend the day at your favorite Texas State Park and participate in a First Day Hike event. With trails for all skill levels, state parks in Texas are a fantastic way to get active and spend time with the entire family. I look forward to seeing you on the trails!”
The First Day Hikes events range from strolls on scenic trails, midnight walks, polar plunges, bike rides, and short treks with four-legged family members to more strenuous hikes for experienced visitors.
Roll into the New Year with a beginner bike ride at Dinosaur Valley State Park. From 10-11 a.m., a park ranger will lead a group of cyclists through the park. The easy bike ride will be 2-3 miles and include stops around the park. The event is free with park admission and will begin at the park store.
At Garner State Park, visitors can dive into the New Year with a hike to Old Baldy and polar bear plunge into the Frio River from 11 a.m. -2 p.m. Trails are moderate to strenuous and closed toed shoes are recommended.
Start the year off with a campfire and midnight walk at Lake Livingston State Park. The event begins at 11 p.m. Dec. 31 and ends at 1 a.m. Jan. 1. Visitors will sit around a campfire and celebrate New Year’s Eve by roasting marshmallows, drinking hot chocolate and watching fireworks on the shoreline of Lake Livingston. A short half-mile hike will take place after the campfire.
Ring – or bark – in the New Year at Martin Creek Lake State Park’s 3rd annual “Tails to Trails” event, with hikes from 9-10 a.m. and 1-2 p.m. The easy to moderate hike has minimal elevation change and is open to people and pups of all ages. Owners must carry waste bags and pick up after their pets. Pets must be on leashes no longer than 6 feet and current on all vaccines.
San Angelo State Park will be hosting a New Year’s Day horse trail ride from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. The event is BYOH — bring your own horse. Shoes are recommended due to rocky spots along the trail. Riders will need to present current Coggins papers for their horses. Visitors can enter the park at the South Gatehouse located at 362 South FM 2288, and will meet and park their trailers at the Burkett trailhead.
Last year, 51 state parks hosted First Day Hike events across Texas. More than 960 participants walked, paddled and biked 1,766 miles at a Texas State Park. Find a complete list of this year’s First Day Hike events on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s calendar page.
- Misty Boggs is the Creative Director at MSGPR. She lives in Angelina County and is pursuing her bachelor's degree in Public Relations and a minor in Creative Writing at Stephen F. Austin State University. Between studying and working, she enjoys teaching her niece and nephew the fine art of never growing old.
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