The First Day Hikes program is being expanded in Iowa on New Year’s Day to include special events in more than two dozen state parks.

Whatever the weather, many hundreds of people will gather for free, guided hikes of a mile or two on January 1st. Todd Coffelt, chief of the State Parks Bureau of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says it’s a great way to start 2017.

“We can help kick off our New Year’s resolutions on that first day of January to get outside and enjoy the natural wonder of the beauty of nature in our state parks,” Coffelt says. “The temperature may be a little cold but there’s no better thing to do than keep moving to warm up.” The hikes are being held in 25 Iowa state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative.

All 50 states are taking part in the 6th annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with a guided outdoor exploration. Coffelt says, “We have staff that will be leading the programs, doing an interpretive hike so people can learn more about that state park while you’re surrounded by people of like-minded disciplines who really want to be there and take advantage of the outdoors.”

He says the hikes are a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family. “Iowa state parks, we’re responsible for 55,000 acres,” Coffelt says. “This is one way in the midst of a busy holiday season where people can get together, get outside and take the time to really enjoy the fellowship and share a story about the accomplishments of the previous year and really getting started with our New Year’s resolutions as we move forward.”

Last year, more than 600 people started the year in an Iowa state park, hiking more than 1,100 total miles. Participants ranged in age from 8 weeks to 80-plus years, he says.



· Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, 11:00 a.m.

· Dolliver Memorial State Park, 9:30 a.m.

· Gitchie Manitou State Preserve, 1:00 p.m.

· Ledges State Park, 11:00 a.m.

· Lewis and Clark State Park, 9:00 a.m.

· McIntosh Woods State Park, 1:00 p.m.

· Prairie Rose State Park, 5:30 p.m.

· Springbrook State Park, 10:00 a.m.

· Stone State Park, 10:30 a.m.


· Green Valley State Park, 10:00 a.m.

· Lake Anita State Park, 9:00 a.m.

· Waubonsie State Park, 1:00 p.m.

· Wilson Island State Recreation Area, 1:00 p.m.


· Honey Creek Resort, 1:00 p.m.

· Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, 10:00 a.m.

· Lake Darling State Park, 10:00 a.m.

· Walnut Woods State Park, 9:00 a.m.


· Cedar Rock State Park, 1:00 p.m.

· Lake Macbride State Park, 1:00 p.m.

· Maquoketa Caves State Park, 1:00 p.m.

· Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, 1:00 p.m.

· Pikes Peak State Park, 1:00 p.m.

· Pine Lake State Park, 9:00 a.m.

· Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area, 10:00 a.m.

· Yellow River State Forest, 10:00 a.m.