The holiday season is a time to relax and commune with family which can make the New Year an ideal time to step outside and get moving. With the National Parks and Recreation Department opening up the parks across the country for free guided tours through their First Day Hikes initiative, locals can kick off the New Year by exploring new territory with friends and family.

This year marks the third year of the annual First Day Hikes with California serving as a leader in the national program in which state parks in all 50 states participate. More than 40 California state parks will host more than 45 outings on New Year’s Day with the hikes varying in both scale and rigor so that the entire family can enjoy.

“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks. First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks,” said California State Parks Acting Director Lisa Ann L. Mangat.

Last year nearly 28,000 people hiked over 68,811 miles at state parks across the country allowing the parks department to not only promote the parks but encourage a healthy lifestyle. With a diverse range of activities – from paddling and whale watching to hiking a rigorous trail – the healthy exercise is often a good break as well as a learning experience with the help of knowledgeable state park guide.

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