Kick off the New Year in the outdoors with a First Day Hike on Jan.1, 2018! Join one of the 75 sponsored hikes being held at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas and trails across the Empire State. The guided hikes are being hosted by New York State Parks and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as part of the 7th annual First Day Hikes program taking place throughout the nation.

In New York, First Day Hikes are being offered at 59 state parks and historic sites (with some facilities offering multiple hikes for different age groups, skill level and destinations within the park) and 14 DEC wildlife areas, trails and environmental educations centers. Staff from State Parks and DEC, along with volunteers at many sites, will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions.

A sample of this year’s programs include a seal walk, a walking history tour, a snowshoe waterfall hike, pet-friendly treks, gorge walks, military musicology, canal towpath walk, and more. New entries for 2018 include a bird survey, a full-moon hike, mountain trails, views from a fire tower, and a walk through a maritime forest.

If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. The map below includes the full event locations and details. Many of the hikes are also featured in our First Day Hikes event list.

Many host parks require pre-registration so call ahead. And if you attend, be sure to tag us on social #NYSTATEPARKS.

The following sites in WNY will be offering First Day Hikes:

Allegany State Park

(716) 354-9101.

Self-guided hike which will start at the Red House Picnic area. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Evangola State Park

(716) 549-1802

See everything this park offers at an annual hiking event that connects people to their parks. In the event of snow we will outfit everyone with snowshoes for trail walking! Meet: Evangola Warm-Up Room. Registration: Required

Knox Farm State Park, 11 a.m.

(716) 652-0786

Start your New Year off right with an invigorating hike through Knox Farm and visit the parks largest trees! Bring a snack lunch.

Meet up Location: Visitor’s Center

Approx Distance: 2 miles

Letchworth State Park, 1-3 p.m.

(585) 493-3600

Four choices on New Year’s Day. The hikes are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at The Humphrey Nature Center. Participants are urged to arrive half an hour early to register. Hot chocolate and cookies will follow at 3 p.m., along with certificates and bookmarks.

Four levels to choose from:

1) Families with younger children. Winter Nature Walk with highlight: Letchworth CSI – Who Done It: Journey on a wooded loop less than one mile on nearly level terrain near The Humphrey Nature Center past, frozen bogs and the Trout Pond.

2) Exploratory walk. Winter Wander between the Ponds: Using deer trails and other paths this 1 ½ mile journey explores the area between Trout Pond and Pine Pond.

3) Families with older children. Winter Nature Walk with highlight: Exotic Trees from Other Lands and State & National Champions: Two-mile loop to Inspiration Point the Glen Iris Fountain and Middle Falls with more than 200’ descent and 200’ ascent along trails, roads and stairs.

4) Faster paced, longest hike. Winter Hike to view the Great Bend Gorge: Three or more mile outing to view the park’s deepest canyon from several vantage points along the Gorge Trail.

Niagara Falls State Park

(716) 282-5154

Lots of stories to be told along the way in the oldest State Park in America!!

Meet: Parking Lot #3 – Goat Island, Registration required