Kansas state parks to host ‘First Day Hikes’ to kick off the new year outdoors
photo by: Rachel Seymour
The holiday season can be a time of eating tasty treats and lounging around, often leading to weight gain and a plan to shed the pounds with a New Year’s resolution.
Luckily for Douglas County residents, the Kansas State Parks are offering a way to get a head start on those resolutions with a hike on the first day of the year.
The state parks will host “First Day Hikes” events on Jan. 1 at 19 locations across the state, including four not far from Lawrence, according to a news release.
The hiking trails for each event are about a mile or two on family-friendly terrain, with many taking hikers along the shores of large lakes, through rugged woodlands and across broad native prairies. Park staff will lead the treks to help educate hikers along the way.
The hikes will also be a good opportunity to view wildlife, like bald eagles, which will be in abundance in Kansas during the winter months.
Those who participate in the First Day Hikes are more likely to come back to state parks and hike throughout the year, said Linda Lanterman, state park director for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
“It’s just an amazing way to get things started for a New Year,” Lanterman said in the release. “For many, that First Day Hike has been the first time they’ve hiked in a state park. It’s a fantastic introduction.”
The hikes are free, but visitors with vehicles will need to pay $5 for a daily pass or purchase a $25 annual pass. All hike participants will receive a free long-sleeve shirt marking the event.
Here are the hikes that will be happening at local and nearby state parks:
• Clinton State Park, 798 N 1415 Road — Meet at the park office for a 1 p.m. hike on the North Shore Trail. The hike, up to 2 miles on moderate terrain, is for ages 5 and up.
• Hillsdale State Park, 26001 255 St., Paola — Meet at the park office for a 10:30 a.m. hike on the Hidden Springs Nature Trail. The hike, on 1.5 miles of easy terrain, is for ages 6 and up.
• Perry State Park, 5441 W Lake Road, Ozawkie — Meet at the Lake View parking lot for a 10 a.m. hike on the Nature Trail. The hike, 2.5 miles on easy to moderate terrain, is for ages 8 and up.
• Pomona State Park, 22900 Kansas Highway 368, Vassar — Meet at the park office for a 2 p.m. hike around several campgrounds. The hike, 1.5 miles on easy to moderate terrain, is for all ages.