12 Minnesota state parks to host First Day Hikes on New Year's Day

Jay Cooke state park (FOX 9)

Ring in the New Year outdoors with a guided hike at these Minnesota state parks. 

The nationwide event is kicking off on Monday, Jan. 1, with over 400 guided hikes and walks offered at state parks in all 50 states. Those in Minnesota can take a candlelit stroll, go bird watching, hike, or participate in snowshoeing (if there’s snow), according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

First Day Hike, a program led by America’s State Parks, will be held at these 12 Minnesota state parks:

  1. Wild River State Park
  2. Forestville Mystery Cave State Park
  3. Whitewater State Park - Visitor Center
  4. Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
  5. Tettegouche State Park
  6. Blue Mounds State Park
  7. Lake Bemidji State Park
  8. Minneopa State Park
  9. Frontenac State Park
  10. Afton State Park
  11. Fort Snelling State Park
  12. Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Although it is currently very brown outside, the DNR said if there is sufficient snow, many of the events will require snowshoes. Hikers can bring their own or borrow a pair for free. Be sure to check the events on the DNR’s website ahead of time for more information. 

For those who can’t attend an event, hikers can participate in their own self-guided tour using trails found on the DNR’s website here. Those who participate in First Hike Day are encouraged to dress in layers and wear hiking boots. 

While the events are free, some require registration, and vehicle permits are $7 for the day of $35 for the year, according to the DNR.