First Day Hikes
December 26, 2012

January 1, 2013, marks the second year of the National First Day Hikes movement, part of a “get outdoors” initiative for people of all ages. The Department of Conservation and Recreation is participating by sponsoring free, guided hikes in 11 state parks across Massachusetts on New Year’s Day—though this is nothing new to the Bay State. A walk through a state park is a tradition that started more than 20 years ago in Massachusetts at the Blue Hills Reservation.

You can find detailed information about each hike, including distance, elevation gain, and suggested footwear on DCR’s website. Some parks are hosting special interpretive programs and some are even giving out soup and hot chocolate! Starting out the New Year with a hike is a great way to show your family that even though it’s winter, you can still enjoy the outdoors. Below is the full list. I was happy to see some of my family’s favorite  destinations are holding hikes, and even happier to learn about some places we haven’t been. One of my resolutions is to visit them all this year.

Happy New Year!

Chestnut Hill Reservation, Brighton, 12 p.m.
Meet at DCR’s Reilly Skating Rink, 355 Chestnut Hill Avenue.

Blue Hills State Reservation, Milton, 1 p.m.
Meet in the Houghton’s Pond parking lot at 840 Hillside Street and follow First Day signs. Arrive early to allow sufficient time for parking and enjoy a free cup of soup beginning at noon.

Nantasket Beach Reservation, Hull, 12 p.m.
Meet at the Mary Jeannette Murray Bathhouse.

Shawme Crowell State Forest, Sandwich, 1 p.m.
Meet at the Pavilion Area at 42 Main Street.

Bradley Palmer State Park, Topsfield, 10 a.m.
Meet at the park headquarters. After the hike, Willowdale Estates will host a reception for hikers.

Walden Pond State Reservation, Concord, 1 p.m.
Meet at the Thoreau House Replica. Come early to see a Living History Program, which will begin at noon and end in time for the hike at 1 p.m.

Breakheart Reservation, Saugus, 12 p.m.
Meet at the visitor center and enjoy free clam chowder, coffee, and hot cocoa.

Dunn State Park, Gardner, 12 p.m.
Meet at the visitor center.

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, Uxbridge, 1 p.m.
Meet at the visitor center, which will open at noon for registration and a special interpretive program.

Pittsfield State Forest, Pittsfield, 1 p.m.
Meet at the ski lodge, 1041 Cascade Street.

DAR State Forest, Goshen, 10:30 a.m.
Meet at the warming hut in the day-use parking lot.

Does your family have a favorite New Year’s Day hike? Tell us about it!


April 20, 2015 (9)
America’s National Parks are getting a lot of welcome attention right now, due to the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016.
December 8, 2015 (5)
The shortest day of the year, signaling the beginning of winter, has been celebrated throughout the world in any number of ways: with music, prayer, bonfires, and other festivities.
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