State park properties to offer First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day

Friday, December 7, 2018

Hoosiers can usher in 2019 with other outdoor lovers at one of the many First Day Hikes offered Jan. 1 at Indiana’s state parks.

First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start 2019 and a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and connect with friends.

Information on First Day events in Indiana is at

The guided hikes are organized by Indiana State Parks in cooperation with America’s State Parks. Hikes will take place in all 50 states.

First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Mass. The program was launched to foster healthy lifestyles and promote year-round recreation at state parks.

For more information, visit America’s State Parks website ( or

Area parks taking part in the First Day events at Indiana State Park properties are (all times are local):

— Lieber State Recreation Area, 10 a.m.: Meet at the Hilltop Shelter for a two-mile hike expected to last about 90 minutes.

— McCormick’s Creek State Park, 2 p.m.: Meet at Canyon Inn for a Canyon Hike and photo contest. The hike will be on Trail 3 to the falls. Hikers can bring cameras or smartphones to snap photos for an optional contest. Refreshments will be available at the end of the hike.

— Monroe Lake, Fairfax State Recreation Area: Monroe Lake will host the sixth annual First Day Trail Run/Walk. Registration/check-in runs from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. at Bay View Shelter. The run/walk starts at 3:30 p.m. The event is untimed. Participants can choose from a 1.3- or 3.7-mile course. Registering in advance costs $15 and includes a post-hike buffet. The advance registration deadline is Dec. 30.

— Raccoon Lake. Noon to 1 p.m.: Meet at the park main gate for a midwinter hike through the ruins of the village of Portland Mills. This will be a one-mile moderate hike on and off trail. Learn about this village, founded in the 1830s, that was removed in 1959 to make way for the lake.

is requested by calling 260-468-2127.

— Shades State Park, 1 to 2 p.m.: Meet at Hickory Shelter for a one-hour hike on trail 1. Reflect on the past year and look forward to 2019 at Prospect and Inspiration points.

-- Shakamak, State Park, 1 to 2:30 p.m.: Meet at the log cabin by the aquatic facility for a walk down the pedestrian path, around the west shelter, and back to the log cabin. The log cabin will have snacks, warm drinks and a fire. The entire route is ADA accessible.

— Turkey Run State Park, 11 a.m. to noon: Celebrate the new year by hiking trails 6 and 11 while learning about the natural and cultural history of Turkey Run. The hike is moderately rugged hike. Refreshments will be available afterward in the inn.

Versailles State Park, 2 to 4 p.m. Meet at the Oak Grove lot for an easy 2.75-mile hike along trail 2, which runs along the edge of Fallen Timber Creek.

If you don’t see the property nearest you listed, check the DNR calendar for updates.

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