Start the Year on the Trails with a First Day Hike

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AUSTIN— Start 2017 with a walk on the wild side by participating in a guided stroll through a Texas State Park as part of the national First Day Hikes initiative.

“Last year, 80 parks hosted 116 First Day Hikes across Texas,” said Brent Leisure, director of Texas State Parks. “More than 3,000 participants covered more than 6,500 miles as they walked, ran, paddled, peddled and swam at First Day Hikes events. This program has proven itself as an ideal way for people to begin a more active lifestyle in the New Year and Texas State Parks are a perfect place to achieve that goal and enjoy nature simultaneously.”

State parks and natural areas across Texas will host First Day Hikes to help visitors commit to their New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get healthy. These events are part of the America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative taking place in all 50 states.

The First Day Hikes events range from brisk strolls on scenic trails, polar plunges, bike rides, short treks with adoptable pups and meditation walks to more strenuous hikes for more experienced visitors.

Looking for some loveable four-legged friends to spend your New Year’s Day with? Join the staff at Pedernales Falls State Park and PAWS Shelter of Central Texas for an afternoon walk through the park. Visitors can bring their own pets or walk with one of the dogs available for adoption. Participants will begin at the day use picnic area at 2 p.m.

Ray Roberts Lake State Park- Johnson Branch Unit is hosting a group First Day Paddle at 1 p.m. around the lake. The paddle is free with paid entrance and participants can bring their own kayak or borrow one from the park. To reserve a kayak, contact the park at 940-637-2636. Paddlers will meet at the boat ramp parking lot.

Bring your bicycle and take a ride through Sheldon Lake State Park during a short First Day Bike Ride. The event begins at 10 a.m. at the pond center and runs for one hour through the park trails and along the park road. To register for this event, contact the park at 281-456-2800 x232.

A complete list of First Day Hike events can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s calendar page.

For video of First Day Hikes events, visit the TPWD YouTube page.