Free, guided hikes will take place in 26 Iowa state parks, including the Ledges and Big Creek, on New Year’s Day as part of America’s First Day Hikes initiative. Hikers can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, and experience spectacular views, beautiful settings and the cultural treasures offered by Iowa’s state parks.


All 50 states will participate in the seventh annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with a guided outdoor exploration.


“We are excited to host First Day Hikes again as part of this effort to get people outdoors and into our parks,” says Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau. “These hikes are a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.”


Last year, more than 1,200 people began the year in an Iowa state park, hiking more than 1,100 total miles.


Staff and volunteers will lead First Day Hikes in Iowa’s 26 participating state parks. Some hikes will include wildlife viewing and hot beverages. Hikes will average one to two miles or longer, depending on the location. Details about the hikes can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/firstdayhikes. To see a comprehensive national map of First Day Hikes, visit www.stateparks.org Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes or #iowastateparks.


“America’s State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to discover the tranquility and beauty of nature through outdoor recreation,” National Association of State Park Directors executive director, Lewis Ledford, said. “Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while exploring beautiful public lands in every state.”


Last year, more than 62,000 people took part in guided hikes that covered over 114,165 miles, on 1,300 different hikes across the country.


Media Contact: Todd Coffelt, Chief, State Parks Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 515-725-8485.