Hiking in the new year at Texas’ state parks

by Josie Fox josie@thecherokeean.com

Step into the 20s on the right foot, or maybe the left foot, by participating in a midnight New Year’s Eve Hike or First Day Hike event held at one of the many participating state parks in Texas.

These events offer something for everyone from polar plunges to runs, paddling treks to bike rides, guided and self-guided hikes, and some parks even offer a First Day Fido Hike.

First Day Hikes are set up to help visitors commit to their New Year’s resolution to drop a few pounds and enjoy a healthier lifestyle with events taking place in all 50 states.

Tyler State Park is kicking off their new year events by asking guests if they can make it to the new year by surviving the Zombie Apocalypse Hike.

Those interested in playing the game of survival are asked to meet at the Whispering Pines trailhead at 2 p.m.

The hike is 1.3 miles and guests are asked to dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear.

Caddo Lake State Park is giving guests the opportunity to ring in the new year on the fishing pier on Saw Mill Pond.

The moderate 1.5-mile hike is scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 at the Caddo Forest Trail trailhead. The trailhead is located by the entrance of the boat ramp parking lot.

Although the program is free, park entry fees are required. The fee is $4 per person age 13 and free for those age 12 and under.

As the park headquarters will be closed, park officials are asking that exact change or check be used to pay the park fees using the self-pay station. Registration is not required for the hike; however, the program is subject to cancellation in the event of inclement weather.

Closed-toe shoes are required for this event and guests are encouraged to bring a flashlight or headlamp, along with water and bug spray.

A First Day Campfire and First Day Hike will be held at Lake Livingston State Park beginning at 11 p.m. on Dec. 31.

Guests will have the opportunity to count down to the new year while sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows, drinking hot chocolate and watching a firework display along the shoreline of Lake Livingston.

The campfire will take place on the peninsula near the park’s activity center.

Following the campfire, guest will have an opportunity to patriciate in a non-strenuous half mile hike.

Leashed pets are welcome to this event, so no need to leave your furry friend at home. Regular park admission fees of $5 per adult ages 13 and up apply with no additional charge for activities.

Reservations are not required for this event.

First Day Hikes in the area will begin at 9 a.m. on Jan. 1 at Tyler State Park, Stephen F. Austin State Park and Lake Tawakoni State Park with additional events scheduled throughout the date at Mission Tejas State Park, Daingerfield State Park, Caddo Lake State Park, Lake Bob Sandlin State Park and Cooper Lake State Park.

For Texas State Parks First Day Hikes locater map, visit tpwd.texas.gov.

Look for hikes nationwide on NASPD’s database at naspd.org.