2018 First Day Hikes in Iowa

2018 First Day Hikes in Iowa

All First Day Hikes for Jan. 1, 2018 Canceled Due to Frigid Temperatures. You can burn off some of those extra holiday calories at a First Day Hike. There’s no better way to kick off 2018 than by getting outside, exercising, enjoying nature and welcoming the New Year with friends and family! Iowa’s State Parks annually sponsor FREE, guided hikes on New Year’s Day as part of the America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative.

All First Day Hikes for Jan. 1, 2018 Canceled Due to Frigid Temperatures.

First Day Hikes take place on January 1st and will be held in the following Iowa State Parks this year:

Northwest Iowa

Gitchie Manitou State Preserve –  This moderate level hike will begin at 1:00 pm. Guests are asked to meet at Gitchie Manitou parking lot, off Adams Ave; 52141 Adams Avenue to begin the 1.5-mile hike.

Dolliver Memorial State Park – Head out on the Copperas Beds Trail bright and early at 9:30 am for this 1 to 1.5 miles hike.

Stone State Park – Meet at 10:30 am at the parking lot near the park office; 150 yards inside the east entrance from Talbot Rd and Memorial Dr for this moderate level hike.

Lewis and Clark State Park – Start the New Year with a hike at 12:00 noon.  Meet at the Visitor Center for this easy 1.5 mile jaunt.

Ledges State Park – Hike the Lost Lake Interpretive Trail with park staff at 11:00 am. The trail is located on the south side of the park.

Big Creek State Park – Meet in the Disc Golf parking lot at 10:00 am for this moderate level 1.25 mile hike.

Springbrook Conservation Education Center – The 2-3 miles hike is a journey through time, beginning in the present and hiking back in time until we reach the Ice Age!

Prairie Rose State Park – Hikers will be going on an “Owl Prowl” to see if they can call in some owls and get them to answer back at 5:30 pm.

Southwest Iowa

Wilson Island State Recreation Area – The easy one-mile hike will explore trails at the heart of the park at 9:00 am.

Waubonsie State Park – Meet at Wa-Shawtee Lodge for a guided 1.5-2 mile hike through the hilly woods and prairies of Waubonsie State Park at 1:00 pm.

Lake Anita State Park – Meet at 10:00 am for a moderate level 4+ mile hike (shorter routes available). Coffee, cocoa and snacks afterwards at park office.

Green Valley State Park – The paved trail provides a flat terrain and easy hike that will take you along the shoreline of Green Valley Lake at 10:00 am.

Viking Lake – Meet at Viking Restaurant at 9:00 am for an easy 6-mile run or at 10:00 am for a moderate level 2-mile hike on the grass trail.

Southeast Iowa

Walnut Woods State Park – This moderate leve guided hike will take you through the bottomland floodplain forest of the Raccoon River. Meet at the Walnut Woods Lodge at 9:00 am.

Honey Creek Resort State Park –  Join a naturalist-led trails, tracks and scat hike. Leave the Activities Building at 1:00 pm.

Lacey-Keosauqua State Park – Meet at the lodge at 10:00 am for a hike along the Des Moines River bluffs. Enjoy nature such as bald eagles and waterfowl.

Lake Darling State Park – Start your trek at the Park Lodge at 10:00 am.  You will hike 1.5 – 2 miles along the Ding Darling Interpretive Pathway.

Northeast Iowa

Maquoketa Caves State Park – The Stone Shelter will serve as the meeting point to start your hike at 11:00 am.  Both easy and moderate level guided hikes will be offered.

Bellevue State Park – Starting from the Nature Center at 9:00 am, you will take the butterfly garden paved trail and link up with the quarry trail to the Felderman Park Bridge. You will walk across the bridge and do a loop and walk the same route back.

Mines of Spain State Recreation Area – Hike the America’s State Tree Woodland Walk through tallgrass prairie, past trees and signage for all 50 states.

Cedar Rock – The hike will be on moderately hilly terrain winding away from the park visitor center to the beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Walter Estate grounds.

Pine Lake State Park – Enjoy a hike along the Hogsback Ridge Trail at 1:00 pm. You’ll make your way through the tunnel to the beach and along the shoreline of Lower Pine Lake.

Pikes Peak State Park – If conditions allow you will hike the boardwalk down to Bridal Veil Falls and back. Leave on this 1-mile hike from the Stone Shelter at 1:00 pm.

Yellow River State Forest –  After meeting at the Cabin (located next to the forest headquarters) at 10:00 am, you will car pool to a predetermined trail dependent on weather and trail conditions.

Volga River State Recreation Area – The moderate to difficult level hike will begin at the Day-Use Area and will take hikers up the Lima Trail to a remote off trail overlook.

Know Before You Go:

Several participating Iowa State Parks are offering hot chocolate and warm beverages at the completion of the hikes and encourage visitors to stay and explore other areas, or enjoy the quiet beauty of the parks in wintertime.

Be sure to dress for the weather! Wear layers of clothing and sturdy hiking boots or shoes, as well as hats and gloves. Binoculars and a camera always come in handy, and remember to bring water. Strollers are not recommended. Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information about hike locations, difficulty, length and more, visit http://www.iowadnr.gov/Things-to-Do/Hiking-Biking/First-Day-Hikes.

Will your family be stepping out on a First Day Hike in 2018?  Let us know! 

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