Start the year outdoors!

For the past 13 years, the Iowa DNR (Department of Natural Resouces) has promoted and sponsored the first-day hikes. The goal is to encourage Iowans to step into the outdoors on the first day of the new year to enjoy the great outdoors, exercise, and explore Iowa’s natural wonders. The first-day hike also marks the start of the 100th anniversary year for two key state parks: Ledges State Park and Pilot Knob State Park

Which state parks and state forests are participating in the first day hikes on Jan 1st, 2024?

  • Backbone State Park
  • Brushy Creek State Recreation Area
  • Cedar Rock
  • Lacey-Keosauqua State Park
  • Lake Anita State Park
  • Ledges State Park
  • Maquoketa Caves State Park
  • Mines of Spain State Recreation Area
  • Palisades-Kepler State Park
  • Pikes Peak State Park
  • Pilot Knob State Park
  • Prairie Rose State Park
  • Springbrook State Park
  • Stone State Park
  • Waubonsie State Park
  • Wildcat Den State Park
  • Yellow River State Forest

Where do I get more information about times and details for each park/forest?

Iowa DNR’s website provides a page with all the details for each location.

What time of day do the hikes start?

The start time is different for each location, please check with the Iowa DNR site for details on each location.

Are all hikes guided?

Many, but not all hikes are guided by either park staff or friends of the state park groups. Some of the hikes even feature hot cocoa or other refreshments.

How long are the first-day hikes?

Typically they are no longer than 1 to 2 miles for guided hikes, although some self guided hikes at longer distances are available.

Is there a cost to join the first-day hikes?

There is no cost to join the first-day hikes.

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