The Missouri State Parks Division is offering a new tradition for people on New Year’s Day. The Parks Division is offering more than 40 First Day Hikes events throughout the state for New Year’s Day, complete with refreshments, guides, and door prizes. State Parks Director Bill Bryan says winter hikes are no less majestic than any other time of year.

The First Day Hikes started three years ago, and Bryan says they are growing in popularity for people who want to get out, get some exercise and enjoy Missouri’s natural beauty. He says hikes range from half a mile to two miles, so people can choose their skill level.

Getting fit is a common New Year’s resolution, and Bryan says going for a hike is a great way to get started. The hikes range from half a mile to two miles, and varying from thick forests to the open prairie, so people can choose their skill level. He says hiking in the winter is just like hiking in the summer — dress right for the weather and stay hydrated.

Winter hiking, he says, offer unique opportunities to see things you wouldn’t see other times of the year, such as breathtaking vistas normally hidden by leaves. New Year’s Day hikers in 2013 got to see buffalo thundering across Prairie State Park.

“First Day Hikes offer families an opportunity to begin the New Year connecting with the outdoors and getting great exercise,” Bryan says. “We’ve had a great response with this program in previous years and hope even more Missourians will have the opportunity to enjoy our award-winning trails on Jan. 1.”

First Day Hikes are part of a national effort by America’s State Parks to get people outdoors into state parks. People from all 50 states are expected to join the effort to celebrate the new year with a hike in a state park.

In 2013, Missouri State Parks visitors joined more than 12,000 Missourians in completing more than 1 million miles as a part of the Governor’s 100 Missouri Miles Challenge. Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon initiated the Challenge to celebrate Missouri’s distinction as “Best Trails State” and to encourage Missourians to get outside and get active in 2013.

A list of state parks with guided hikes on Jan. 1 is available HERE.

Many parks and site require participants to register in advance. For more information on First Day Hikes as well as all Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit