2015: Hike in the New Year

First Day Hike at Carvers Creek State Park (photo courtesy of N.C. State Parks).
First Day Hike at Carvers Creek State Park (photo courtesy of N.C. State Parks).

We all resolve to be healthier and more active at the start of the new year. What we don’t always realize is that a healthier lifestyle is a day-by-day undertaking.

That said, get your first day of your active new year off to a good start with a hike. Hiking is one of the more traditional ways to start the blood flowing on January 1. (Jumping into an icy lake is another; we’ve tried that and don’t recommend it if you intend to keep the blood flowing.) Fortunately, there are lots of hike options on New Year’s Day, thanks to the First Day Hikes initiative launched a few years back by the nation’s state parks.

North Carolina State Parks jumped on the trend three years ago; this year, more than 40 First Day Hikes are planned throughout the system for January 1. We’ve provided thumbnails of each hike below; for the details, go here.

In addition, our GetHiking! group will be welcoming the New Year at Umstead State Park with options of 2, 4.5, 6 and 9 miles — something for pert near everyone. You can find details on this hike, which begins at 10 a.m., here.

Coast/Coastal Plain

  • Carolina Beach State Park, 10 a.m., 2 miles.
  • Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, 8:30 a.m., 3.1 miles.
  • Dismal Swamp State Park, 12:30 p.m., 2-4 hours.
  • Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, 2 p.m.,1.5 miles.
  • Fort Macon State Park, 10 a.m., “leisurely hike.”
  • Goose Creek State Park, 2 p.m., half mile.
  • Hammocks Beach State Park/Bear Island Nature Hike, 9 a.m., 2 hours.
  • Jockey’s Ridge State Park, 10 a.m., dune hike.
  • Jones Lake State Park, 10 a.m.,
  • Lake Waccamaw State Park, 2 p.m.
  • Lumber River State Park, 11 a.m., 1/ mile.
  • Merchants Millpond State Park, 9 a.m., 1-2 hours.
  • Pettigrew State Park, 2 p.m.
  • Singletary Lake State Park, 2 p.m., 1 mile.

Piedmont

  • Carvers Creek State Park, 1 p.m., 3 miles.
  • Crowders Mountain State Park, 9 a.m., 6 miles.
  • Eno River State Park, 2 p.m., 4-5 miles.
  • Falls Lake State Recreation Area, 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., scavenger hunt.
  • Hanging Rock State Park, 10 a.m., 3 miles.
  • Haw River State Park, 10 a.m., 3.2 miles.
  • Haw River State Park, 1 p.m., 1 mile.
  • Jones Lake State Park, 10 a.m.
  • Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, 9 a.m., 2.7 miles.
  • Kerr Lake State Recreation Area, 2 p.m., “leisurely stroll.”
  • Lake Norman State Park, 1 p.m.
  • Mayo River State Park, 11 a.m., 1.8 miles.
  • Medoc Mountain State Park, 2 p.m., 1.5 miles.
  • Morrow Mountain State Park, 10 a.m., 2.8 miles.
  • Pilot Mountain State Park, 10 a.m., 1 mile.
  • Pilot Mountain State Park, 1 p.m., 6.6 miles
  • Raven Rock State Park, 9 a.m., 2-5 miles.
  • Raven Rock State Park, 1 p.m., 2.5 miles
  • South Mountain State Park, 10 a.m., 1.5 miles.
  • Stone Mountain State Park, 1 p.m., 3 miles.
  • Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, 8 a.m., bird walk.
  • Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, 2 p.m., 2 miles.
  • William B. Umstead State Park, 10 a.m., short hike.

Mountains

  • Chimney Rock State Park, 1 p.m., Hickory Nut Falls: moderately difficult hike.
  • Chimney Rock State Park, 2:30 p.m., Rumbling Bald: 1 mile.
  • Elk Knob State Park, 1 p.m., two options: a 3-hour hike and a 45-minute hike.
  • Gorges State Park, 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., hike to Bearwallow Falls/Bearwallow Valley.
  • Grandfather Mountain, 11:30 a.m., 2.5 hours.
  • Lake James State Park, 10 a.m., 2 miles.
  • Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, 2 p.m.
  • Mount Mitchell State Park, 11 a.m., .75 miles.
  • New River State Park, 10 a.m., 1.5 miles.

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