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Usher in the New Year on foot at a state park First Day Hike (published December 27, 2021)

First Day Hikes will take place at six Minnesota state parks on Saturday, Jan. 1, as part of a nationwide effort to connect people with the outdoors. Individuals, families and groups in all 50 states will have an opportunity to enjoy guided hikes that vary in distance and difficulty. The event offers visitors an opportunity to celebrate the New Year amidst local nature and history.

The Minnesota hikes will take place at:

  • Itasca State Park (Park Rapids), 1-3 p.m.
  • Lake Bemidji State Park (Bemidji), 1-3 p.m.
  • Minneopa State Park (Mankato), 10-11 a.m.
  • Mille Lacs Kathio State Park (Onamia), 1-2 p.m.
  • Whitewater State Park (Altura), 1-3 p.m.
  • William O’Brien State Park (Marine on St. Croix), 10-11:30 a.m.

To learn more about each hike, including whether pre-registration is required and where to meet, visit the First Day event webpage.

First Day Hikes are free, but a vehicle permit ($7 for a one-day permit or $35 for a year-round permit) is required to enter Minnesota state parks. Visitors should dress for the weather — ideally in layers that can be shed.

For those who wish to extend their First Day visit into multiple days, check the state park reservation page to see if overnight accommodations are offered.

For more information, including any event changes or cancelations due to weather, check the visitor alert on the park’s web page, email [email protected] or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

First Day Hikes started in 1992 in Massachusetts, and became a nationwide event in 2012.