Start the New Year off with a hike

Looking for an opportunity to get outside and celebrate New Year’s Day with family and friends? Join other outdoor enthusiasts for a rejuvenating and invigorating family-friendly trek on New Year’s Day at five of New Hampshire’s state parks.

These free, annual First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin 2020 by connecting with the outdoors by taking a organized or self-guided hike. Participants can explore historic sites, state parks and even enjoy pet-friendly hikes with their four-legged friends either on their own or discover and experience nature with a guided hike lead by park staff and out partner volunteers. If snowshoeing or cross country skiing is more your pace, then this is the perfect day for that too.

2020 New Hampshire First Day Hike locations include:

Odiorne Point State Park
570 Ocean Blvd
Rye, NH
Leashed pets permitted: no

Join state park staff and the Seacoast Science Center for a self-guided natural history hike through the varied habitats of Odiorne Point State Park. Trail options include the 3-mile Odiorne Point Loop Trail, that takes you past WWII fortifications, such as Battery Seaman, and the .9-mile Seacoast Science Center and Founders Monument loop trail, with a section along the rocky coastline. Guides will be present to share the natural history of this seacoast park. Join us to seek signs of wildlife, watch shorebirds, discover tide pools, and enjoy the many varieties of trees and plants that highlight Odiorne Point State Park as a unique coastal habitat. After the hike, enjoy a warm drink and snack inside Seacoast Science Center.

Monadnock State Park
116 Poole Road
Jaffrey, NH
Leashed pets permitted: no

Join state park staff and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests land stewards for a 3-mile hike along the Parker Trail to the Little Mountain Viewpoint. The hike starts with a glimpse of Poole Reservoir and continues on following rolling hills and old stonewalls as you round the base of Mt. Monadnock towards the Old Toll Rd. This hike will take approximately 3 hours to complete. For those looking for a more leisurely hike, follow the Parker Trail to the Cliff Walk Junction and back. The shorter hike will take approximately 2 hours to complete and follows relatively flat terrain. After the hike, enjoy hot drinks and snacks while warming up next to the outdoor fire.

Franconia Notch State Park, Flume Gorge
852 Daniel Webster Hwy
Lincoln, NH
Leashed pets permitted: yes

This is an opportunity to experience winter hiking in the White Mountains and the Flume gorge. See what the Gorge looks like in the winter and get a glimpse of the forces that formed the Flume during the Ice Age. Find animal tracks in the snow and listen to the wind through the silent hardwood forest. The hike will begin from the North side of the Gilman Visitor Center (closed in winter) and follows the summer route of the Flume Gorge trail. Guests will have two hike options: Option 1 – The 2-mile Flume Gorge Trail Loop. This option takes you past the Flume covered bridge to the base of the Gorge. It then traverses around the Gorge (boardwalks are removed for the winter) and brings you to a look out above Avalanche Falls at the top of the Flume Gorge. The trail then takes you west to the Pool and Sentinel Pine Covered Bridge and back to the visitor’s center. Option 2 – A shorter hike option is a 1.5 mile, out and back hike to the base of the Flume Gorge and return to the visitor’s center.  Both hike options are moderate and require traction devices for walking on snow and ice. Snow depth may warrant the use of snowshoes. Dogs are welcomed but must be leashed. Owners are responsible for carrying out any pet waste.

Milan Hill State Park
72 Fire Tower Road
Milan, NH
Leashed pets permitted: yes

The well-groomed, 16 kilometer XC ski trail network in and around Milan Hill State Park, that is maintained by the Nansen Ski Club will be open for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Park Staff and club volunteers will be onsite with trail maps and suggested routes for skiers and snowshoers of varying skill levels who wish to take a self-guided tour of the Park and its trails. The event will leave from the newly-constructed Warming Hut near the Park entrance, and this adventure will offer opportunities to spot animal tracks and take in expansive views of the Northern Presidential White Mountains from the trails, with the option of a spectacular 360 degree view from the fire tower at the top of Milan Hill, accessed via the Tower. Hot drinks and snacks will be offered back at the warming hut upon return.  With the generous donation of demo gear provided by Nordic Skater of Newbury and Alpina Sports participants who do not have their own gear will have the opportunity to try cross country skiing.

Bear Brook State Park
Deerfield Road
Allenstown, NH
Leashed pets permitted: yes

Join park staff and Derry Trail Riders volunteers on an easy 1.25-mile self-guided hike along the Catamount Pond exercise trail.  This is a relaxing stroll through the northeast side of Bear Brook leaving and returning to the Catamount Pond Beach area parking lot.  Warm drinks and a snack will be served fireside in the parking lot. Weather permitting, Larry Stone from Stoneboat Farm in Loudon will be on hand with his team of draft horses offering free horse drawn wagon rides and will be offered first come first served.

Categories: Winter Holidays, Winter Sports