Nineteen of the 26 Kansas state parks will participate in First Day Hike events on New Year's Day.

Several state parks in northeast Kansas, including Perry State Park, Tuttle Creek State Park, Clinton State Park and Milford State Park will have free, guided hikes on Jan. 1, 2019, related to the nationwide initiative of getting people out into nature for hiking to start their year off right.

“It’s just an amazing way to get things started for a New Year,” Linda Lanterman, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism state park director, said in a news release. “It’s great for people to get out into nature on the first day of the year. We’ve found people who go on these First Day Hikes are very likely to come back and do more hiking throughout the year. For many, that First Day Hike has been the first time they’ve hiked in a state park. It’s a fantastic introduction.”

All participants in the events will get a free "Hike Local" long-sleeved T-shirt. Children are welcome with adult supervision, as are leashed pets. Drinks and snacks will be provided during many hikes in Kansas, though hikers are encouraged to bring their own. Most First Day Hikes will traverse a 1-mile or 2-mile, family-friendly path with park staff leading the hikers and educating them along the way. Many will be along the shores of large lakes, rugged woodlands or broad native prairies. Bald eagles and other wildlife are likely to be spotted, as well, so don't forget to bring a pair of binoculars to get a close-up look at them.

Hikers will meet at 10 a.m. at Perry State Park's 2 1/2-mile nature trail for a hike on easy to moderate terrain suitable for ages 8 and older.

At Tuttle Creek, hikers will meet at 10:30 a.m. on the Western Heritage Trail for a hike on easy terrain that varies from 1 to 3 1/2 miles. All ages are welcome.

For those at Clinton State Park, hikers will meet at 1 p.m. at the North Shore Trail for a hike on up to 2 miles of moderate terrain that is suitable for ages 5 and up.

At Milford's Eagle Ridge Trail, hikers also will meet at 1 p.m. for an easy to moderate hike on a 2 3/4-mile hike suitable for all ages.

The First Day Hikes initiative began 25 years ago in Massachusetts and became statewide in 2012, with Canada also hosting hikes. Though the hikes are free, participants will need a vehicle permit to drive into the parks. Daily passes are $5 and sold at self-serve stations in the park. Some offices will be open to sell daily or $25 annual passes. The state parks' Facebook pages will announce cancellations in the event of inclement weather.

Kansas’ 26 state parks offer access to more than 1,000 miles of Kansas hiking, cycling and horseback trails, ranging from short, paved paths to the 96-mile Flint Hills trails, according to the agency.

 

FIRST DAY HIKES IN KANSAS

All hikes slated for Jan. 1, 2019

• Cheney State Park — Meet at the park office for the 2 p.m., 3/4-mile West Side Nature Trail hike. Easy to moderate terrain. All ages welcome.

• Clinton State Park — Meet at the park office for the 1 p.m. hike on the North Shore Trail. Hike up to 2 miles, moderate terrain for kids 5 and up.

• Crawford State Park — Meet at the beach shelter house for the 10 a.m. hike along the 2-mile Spider Leg Bridge Trail. All ages. Moderate terrain.

• Cross Timbers State Park — Meet at the Chautauqua Hills Trail trail head for the 2 p.m., 1 1/2-mile hike. Easy to moderate terrain. All ages welcome.

• El Dorado State Park — Meet at the Walnut River Cabins for the 1 p.m., 2-mile Walnut River Trail hike. All ages. Easy to moderate terrain.

• Elk City State Park — Meet at the trail head for the 8 a.m. Green Thumb Trail hike. Three miles. Moderate terrain. All ages welcome.

• Fall River State Park — Meet at the Quarry Bay maintenance shop for the 2 p.m. hike on the 3/4-mile Post Oak Trail. Moderate terrain. All ages.

• Flint Hills State Park — Meet at the old depot in Ottawa for the 2 p.m hike. Two miles of easy terrain. All ages.

• Glen Elder State Park — Meet at the historic church for the 9 a.m. hike on the 4-mile Waconda Trail. Easy terrain. All ages.

• Hillsdale State Park — Meet at the park office for the 10:30 a.m. hike on the Hidden Springs Nature Trail. Easy terrain of 1.5 miles. Ages 6 and up.

• Kanopolis State Park — Meet at the park office for the 10 a.m. hike on the Split Boulder Trail. Easy terrain, 1.6 miles. All ages.

• Meade State Park — Meet at the park office for the 2 p.m. Eagle Trail hike. Easy terrain. All ages welcome on the 1 1/4-mile trek.

• Milford State Park — Meet at the group shelter parking lot for 1 p.m. hike on the Eagle Ridge Trail. Easy to moderate terrain. All ages welcome on the 2 3/4-mile trek.

• Perry State Park — Meet at the Lake View parking lot for the 10 a.m. hike on the 2 1/2-mile Nature Trail. Easy to moderate terrain. Youth 8 and older.

• Pomona State Park — Meet at the park office for the 2 p.m., 1.5-mile hike around several campgrounds. Easy to moderate terrain. All ages.

• Prairie Dog (Norton) State Park — Meet at the Nature Trail parking lot for the 9 a.m. hike. Easy terrain on the 1 1/4-mile hike. All ages.

• Sand Hills State Park — Meet at the park office/cabin for the 10 a.m. hike on the Dune and Prairie trails. One mile of easy to moderate terrain.

• Tuttle Creek State Park — Meet at the park office for the 10:30 a.m. hike on the Western Heritage Trail. Easy terrain for a hike that varies from 1 to 3 1/2 miles. All ages welcome.

• Wilson State Park — Meet at the Cedar Trail parking lot for the 1 p.m. hike on the trail. Easy terrain.