News release: Join people across the country for a First Day Hike at a Minnesota state park

December 22, 2023

First Day Hikes will take place at 12 Minnesota state parks on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, as part of a nationwide effort to connect people with the outdoors.

In an initiative spearheaded by the America’s State Parks organization, hikers in all 50 states will take guided walks on New Year’s Day. These hikes welcome people to spend time during the first day of the new year outdoors exercising and connecting with nature. For many people, it has become a tradition.

First Day Hikes will be held at Afton, Blue Mounds, Forestville Mystery Cave, Fort Snelling, Frontenac, Lake Bemidji, Mille Lacs Kathio, Minneopa, Nerstrand-Big Woods, Tettegouche, Whitewater and Wild River state parks. Find details about all 12 programs at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s First Day Hikes webpage.

These events are free to participate in, but some require advance registration. In addition, vehicle permits ($7 per day or $35 for a year-round permit) are required at Minnesota state parks. Visitors can save time and purchase permits in advance on the state park vehicle permits webpage, or buy a permit in person during open hours at park offices.

For many of these events, if there is sufficient snow, the event will be held on snowshoes. Participants can bring their own snowshoes or borrow a set at no charge. Check the event’s online listing to learn if snowshoe reservations are available and if there is enough snow for snowshoeing at that location.

Hikers are advised to wear boots and dress in layers so clothing can be adjusted as needed. For those who are new to winter outdoor recreation, or are new to Minnesota, the DNR winter guide offers suggestions on how to dress for winter.

The DNR encourages anyone unable to attend a guided hike to get out with friends and family on New Year’s Day for their own self-guided hike. Trails can be found on the DNR’s Hiking in Minnesota webpage.

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