Start the New Year in the outdoors with a First Day Hike 

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Diane Sieker photo

SACRAMENTO – Looking to burn off some holiday calories and start the new year on the right foot? California State Parks invited the public to absorb the wonders of nature with a First Day Hike on New Year’s Day. Dedicated docents, volunteers and staff provided about 50 hikes at state parks throughout California.

“First Day Hike creates opportunities to connect with families, friends and communities,” Lisa Mangat, director of California State Parks, said. “Public outdoor places support healthy, affordable, physical and social activities. California’s state parks are a gateway to these benefits. Come join staff, docents and volunteers as well as fellow outdoor enthusiasts to welcome the new year.”

This is the 10th year California has participated in the First Day Hikes program. The program is part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors. More than 33,000 visitors took part in more than 1,110 hikes last year in the U.S. and Canada. That included more than 2,400 visitors at 55 California state parks.

California’s state parks are among the most diverse in the world in variety of natural and cultural resources. Participating state parks for the 2020 First Day Hikes initiative included Saddleback Butte State Park, offering scenic desert views, buttes and spectacular rock formations; Angel Island State Park’s beautiful vistas of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge and features a rich history and Big Basin Redwoods State Park, where California’s oldest state park offers its ancient coast redwoods and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and lush waterfalls.

Additional parks included Año Nuevo State Park with a rich variety of natural and cultural resources, including its equal access walks to see the famed elephant seals; Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in California, with 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and miles of hiking trails to experience the beauty of the California desert and Crystal Cove State Park, Salt Point State Park, Carpinteria State Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach, which all offer coastal hikes with gorgeous views.

If visitors are lucky, they may even spot seals, sea lions and gray whales.

For a complete list of participating state parks and how to safely enjoy First Day Hikes, visit www.parks.ca.gov/FirstDayHikes. Check for updates, as many hikes are still being planned and will be added to the list as details become available. Visitors were encouraged to share their experiences on social media using the hashtags: #HikeInto2020, #FirstDayHike and #CAStateParks.

In addition to First Day Hikes, visitors can head to the closest state park at any time to enjoy off-highway motor vehicle recreation, boating activities, horseback riding, on- and off-road cycling, hiking, camping and rock climbing in our 280 state parks units throughout the state. Visit us at www.parks.ca.gov.

Submitted by California State Parks.