UPDATED DEC. 29, 2017

First Day hikes still a go on Jan. 1

It’s “game on” for the First Day events being held on Jan. 1 at each of 32 Indiana State Park properties, despite the frigid weather.

But there will be a few adjustments.

“We encourage people to wear layers, cover hands, heads and cheeks, and join us for a ‘brisk’ walk,” said Ginger Murphy, deputy director for the Division of State Parks. “Some properties are changing the lengths of their hikes to shorten the time exposed to the cold, but people can certainly continue to hike longer on their own if they choose.”

Some changes:

The hike at Falls of the Ohio State Park will be either on the Woodland Trail or at another location because the ice on the fossil beds may be treacherous.
The Versailles State Park hike will be about a mile instead of the originally planned 4 miles.
Indiana Dunes State Park is still doing the 3-Dune Challenge hike, but will also offer a shorter hike at the same time.
Spring Mill State Park’s hike will be a mile instead of 2.5 miles, but will still be rugged.
Brookville Lake’s hike will remain the same, but the trivia hike at nearby Whitewater Memorial State Park will be a half-mile instead of the originally planned 2.5 miles.

“Join the fun and keep your ‘streak’ going if you’ve been doing this every year,” Murphy said. “Don’t let the weather stop you from a memorable experience enjoying the outdoors and starting the new year off right.”

More information on First Day events in Indiana, including other last-minute changes, see the DNR calendar at calendar.dnr.IN.gov or check the Facebook page of the property you plan to visit.

The guided hikes are organized by Indiana State Parks in cooperation with America’s State Parks. Hikes will take place in all 50 states.

First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Mass. The program was launched to foster healthy lifestyles and promote year-round recreation at state parks.

Thousands of hikers will take to the trails in both North America and Canada this year. For more information, visit America’s State Parks website (stateparks.org) or Facebook page (facebook.com/Americas-State-Parks-205324976548604).

 

ORIGINAL POST: Usher in 2017 with other outdoor lovers at one of the many First Day Hikes, and one First Day Horse Ride, offered Jan. 1 at Indiana’s state parks.

First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start 2017 and a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and connect with friends.

DNR’s Division of State Parks is hosting 32 First Day events throughout the state.

Information on First Day events in Indiana is at dnr.IN.gov/dnr/parklake/2420.htm.

First Day events at Indiana State Park properties are (all times are local):

—Brookville Lake, 4 p.m.: Meet at the Mounds State Recreation Area campground shelter house for an easy 0.7-mile hike on the Wildlife Wander Loop Trail. The hike should last about 45 minutes. Hot cocoa and a fire will be available afterward.

—Brown County State Park, 11 a.m.: Meet in front of Abe Martin Lodge for a “Hills ’n’ Hollers” hike. The 1.5- to 2-mile hike will last about an hour. After the hike, a hot chocolate bar will be available at the lodge.

—Chain O’Lakes State Park, 2 p.m.: Meet at the Dock Lake public access parking lot for a 1- to 2-mile hike that will last about 90 minutes. Hot Cocoa and snacks will be available.

—Charlestown State Park, 10 a.m.: Meet at the Trail 3 parking lot for a Rose Island History Hike. At 2.4-miles long, the leisurely hike should last about two-and-a-half hours. Hikers will see the remains of an amusement park and new exhibits interpreting them. Hot cocoa will be provided.

—Clifty Falls State Park, 2 p.m.: Meet at Lookout Point for a First Day Waterfall Walk. The moderately rugged hike is 1 mile long and should last about an hour. Bring sturdy hiking shoes and a camera.

—Falls of the Ohio State Park, 1 p.m.: Meet at the interpretive center for a Falls River Greenway Hike. The 3-mile, easy hike will last about two hours as visitors hike to the George Rogers Clark home site on the Ohio River Greenway.

—Fort Harrison State Park, noon: Meet at the Delaware Lake Parking Lot for a 2-mile hike on the paved Harrison Trace Trail. The hike should last about two hours. Leashed pets and strollers are welcome.

—Hardy Lake, 1 p.m.: Meet at the main office for a 1.5-mile-long Wildlife in the Winter Hike. The hike is moderately rugged and will last about an hour.

—Harmonie State Park, 10 a.m.: Meet at the pool parking lot for a 2-mile walk on a paved trail with slight hills. The hike should last about 90 minutes, and strollers, pets and hikers with wheelchairs are welcome. Cookies and hot cocoa will be available afterward.

—Indiana Dunes State Park, 10 a.m.: Meet at the nature center for a First Day Hike 3 Dune Challenge. The 1.5-mile hike will explore some of the tallest dunes in the park and possible ice shelf formations on Lake Michigan. The hike will last about an hour and ends with a fire and healthy snacks.

—Lieber State Recreation Area, 10 a.m.: Meet at the Hilltop Shelter for a 1.5-mile hike that will last two to three hours. Hikers can meet Smokey Bear as they enjoy hot cocoa and snacks afterward.

—Lincoln State Park, noon: Meet at the Troy Road Picnic Area for a 2-mile hike to Weber Lake. The hike is moderate and should last about two hours.

—McCormick’s Creek State Park, 2 p.m.: Meet at Canyon Inn for a Canyon Hike and Photo Contest. The roughly 3/4-mile hike is easy to moderate. Hikers can bring cameras or smart phones to snap photos for an optional contest. Refreshments will be available at the end of the hike.

—Mississinewa Lake, 5:30 p.m.: Meet at Miami State Recreation Area’s Bostwick Pond for a 1-mile hike that will last about 45 minutes.

—Monroe Lake: Monroe Lake will host the fourth annual First Day Trail Run/Walk at Fairfax State Recreation Area. Registration/check-in runs from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. at Bayview Shelter. The run/walk starts at 3:30 p.m. The event is untimed. Participants can choose from a 3.5- to -4.5-mile course or a 1.5- to 2-mile course. Registering in advance costs $15. The advance registration deadline is Dec. 30.

Those who register in advance will have access to a post-event hors d’oeuvres buffet at Fourwinds Lakeside Inn. The first 300 people to register in advance will receive a commemorative patch and a $15 gift certificate for the restaurants at the Fourwinds Lakeside Inn.

Same-day registration is also $15. More information and online registration is at mag7raceseries.com

—Mounds State Park, 5 p.m.: Meet at the nature center for an hour-long, 3/4-mile “Firelight Hike” on an easy, illuminated trail to the Great Mound. The nature center will be open an hour before and after the hike, and hot drinks will be provided.

—O’Bannon Woods State Park, 1 p.m.: Meet at the nature center to walk with the park’s oxen, Forest and Gump, and its donkeys, Garth and Gracie. The walk will be on a roadway for about 1 mile. Enjoy refreshments upon return to the nature center. The event is contingent on weather and road conditions.

—Ouabache State Park, 1 p.m.: Meet at the Bison Pen Shelter for an easy, 40-minute stroll around the bison pen on a 1-mile trail.

—Patoka Lake, 1 p.m.: Meet at the nature center for a 3/4-mile hike on the scenic Garden Rock Loop trail while sipping hot chocolate. The hike will last an hour.

—Pokagon State Park, 10:30 a.m.: Meet at the Potawatomi Inn sun deck for a Birding First Day Hike. Binoculars and check lists will be provided while supplies last. The hike will be 1.5 miles long, passing through several habitats on the way to the Toboggan Run fire ring. Visitors can roast marshmallows and enjoy the fire from noon to 1 p.m. All ages, birders and non-birders are welcome.

—Potato Creek State Park, 10:30 a.m.: Meet at the nature center for a 1- to 2-mile Winter Adventure Hike. The 90-minute walk will include looking for tracks and burrows, checking out the lake and searching for wildlife. Bring snowshoes if there is snow. Hot cocoa will be available after the hike.

—Prophetstown State Park, 1 p.m.: Meet at the far east parking lot for a 2-mile hike on the new bicycle trail and boardwalk. The hike will last about 90 minutes. Hikers should bring binoculars if they have them. Warm drinks will be provided.

—Raccoon Lake. 1 p.m.: Meet at the basketball courts across the main road from the beach for a 1.5-mile hike. The hike will last about an hour and will include some off-trail wandering. It will highlight remains of structures from before the development of the park.

—Salamonie Lake, 2 p.m.: Meet at Salamonie River State Forest’s Hominy Ridge parking lot for a 1-mile stroll that will highlight historic Civilian Conservation Corps projects.

—Shades State Park, 7 p.m.: Meet at the Dell Shelter for a 1-mile, one-hour luminary hike in the early evening darkness. Hot chocolate, water and snacks will be provided.

—Shakamak, State Park, 2 p.m.: Meet at the Group Camp mess hall for a 3/4-mile, 45-minute hike. In conjunction with the Friends of Shakamak group, the park will offer hot cocoa, coffee, and snacks. There will also be entertainment for all ages after the hike inside the Group Camp Mess Hall.

—Spring Mill State Park, 10 a.m.: Meet at the Lakeview Activity Center for a two-hour, 2.5-mile hike. Hot chocolate and coffee in the Lakeview Activity Center will be available after the hike, courtesy of Spring Mill Inn.

—Summit Lake State Park: An indoor activity for kids starts at 11:30 a.m. At noon, hikers should meet at the park office for a “Hike in the Hidden Prairie.” The hike will be 3/4-mile long along a mowed path and will last about an hour. Coffee, hot chocolate and donuts will be available.

—Tippecanoe River State Park, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Meet at the fire tower for a horse ride or hike. The length of the ride or hike is up to the participant, from 0.2 to 7 miles. For this special occasion the fire tower will be open. Horse riders must have their own horse.

—Turkey Run State Park, 11 a.m.: Meet in front of Turkey Run Inn for a moderately rugged, 1.2-mile, hour-long hike. Hot chocolate and snacks will be provided after the hike.

—Versailles State Park, 2 p.m.: Meet at the pool parking lot in front of the mountain bike trailhead for a 4-mile hike. The hike will last about two hours. Sturdy hiking boots, water and hiking sticks are recommended. Well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome.

—Whitewater Memorial State Park, 11 a.m.: Meet at the Poplar Grove Shelter for a moderate, 2.5-mile hike on the Memorial Loop Trail. The hike will take approximately 90 minutes. Participants can drink hot cocoa around a fire afterward.

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Department of Natural Resources