The notion of beginning a new year with a brisk walk goes back ages, but the modern concept of First Day Hikes is relatively new, dating back only to 1992 when a Massachusetts State Park held the first First Day Hike. With the lure of hot soup, the hike drew 380 hikers. Massachusetts State Parks began offering similar First Day Hikes throughout Massachusetts in 2008, and the concept went national in 2012 thanks to America’s State Parks, which represents State Parks nationwide. More than 400 hikes were held across the US that first year. Last year, more than 55,000 people welcomed 2022 with a First Day Hike.
Traditionally, nearly every North Carolina State Park has held a First Day Hike. This year, due to the ongoing pandemic, only 19 First Day Hikes are planned. The most notable omission, for the second year straight, is the First Day Hike at Eno River State Park. Until last year, this hike had been an annual tradition dating back to 1971. Held in partnership with the Eno River Association, there was usually a short hike and a long hike, both culminating with hot chocolate and cider at the picnic shelter.
In years past when the weather has been nice, this hike has attracted more than 500 hikers. Even outdoors, that’s a lot of people to be hiking in close proximity. Another reason the hike is canceled is construction related to construction of a Visitor Center, which has caused a good deal of disruption near the trailhead.
In lieu of the New Year’s Day hike the park and end river association a 12-part series of self-guided challenges called the Superlative Eno Social Scavenger Hunt. Learn more about the challenge at enoriver.org/supereno
As for what first day hikes are happening in North Carolina, if we weren’t holding our own hike, we’d probably head down to the Charlotte area for the Boulders Overlook First Day Hike at Crowders Mountain State Park. That hike is about 2 miles, and is being held in conjunction with the Kings Mountain State Park First Day Hike in neighboring South Carolina. That hike is 5.6 miles and will head up to the Boulders Access. Shuttles are involved.
If you don’t have hike plans for Saturday, here are links to the First Day Hikes being held throughout the Southeast:
Get 2022 off to the best start possible by spending some quality time on the trail. First Day Hikes couldn’t make it any easier.
* * *
You can find a rundown of First Day Hikes nationwide at the America’s State Parks website, here.
Not accustomed to cold weather hiking? The American Hiking Society offers tips for cold weather hiking here.
Explore with us!
We’re hitting the trail hard in 2022 with our GetHiking! and GetBackpacking! programs. Learn more about what we’re up to and sign up to join us by going here.