2.8 min readBy Published On: December 31st, 2023Categories: Features0 Comments on Take a Hike: Start off the new year with a First Hike!

Kick off the new year with fresh air and exercise by joining a state park guided hike on Jan. 1, 2024.

The Massachusetts First Day Hikes program, a free guided hiking event, began in Massachusetts in 1992 and rolled out nationwide in 2012. This year, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which manages more than 150 state parks, will offer hikes at 13 locations across the state. See locations below:

The First Day Hikes initiative launched in 1992, when 400 hikers gathered to welcome the new year at the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton. The program aims to encourage year-round outdoor recreation and to inspire the public to discover the beauty of the Massachusetts State Parks system. Over the years, more parks across Massachusetts and other states welcomed families and residents on New Year’s Day for First Day Hikes. In 2012, the program went national with the endorsement of America’s State Parks, expanding First Day Hikes to all 50 states.

“First Day Hikes brings people of all ages, backgrounds, and demographics together with a common goal of starting their year off at our state parks,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We are proud to continue this cherished tradition that encourages communities to come together, take in fresh air, and experience the beauty of our state.”

“Our program is a unique way of wishing Massachusetts residents health and happiness this New Year. Encouraging families to start their year in one of our parks benefits their well-being and the economy,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “First Day Hikes are an incredible opportunity for family and friends to immerse themselves in our beautiful park system and to inspire year-round outdoor recreation.”

“One of the administration’s many New Year’s resolutions is to get more people outside and into Massachusetts’ natural resources. A First Day Hike will get us closer to that goal and residents more connected to our state park system,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “By participating in this tradition, residents experience our parks’ natural, cultural, and recreational resources while also witnessing the significance of these parks in ensuring the health of our environment. We look forward to seeing everyone on the trails this New Year.”

“One of our goals at DCR is to inspire the next generation of stewards of our natural resources, and programs like First Day Hikes help us in that effort,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “We’re excited to be expanding this great program to more parks this year, and we hope it encourages more families to connect with the natural world that surrounds us.”

The program has become a cherished tradition, with residents of all ages gathering each New Year’s Day to ring in the new year outdoors in DCR parks. This year, the agency expects thousands of visitors to take part in the hikes at agency parks in Saugus, Rockport, Stoneham, Concord, East Falmouth, Uxbridge, Gardner, Townsend, West Boylston, Turner Falls, Chester, and Lanesborough.

DCR offers incredible natural resources for visitors to explore, as well as exceptional recreational activities that residents can take advantage of year-round. This year’s First Day Hikes will range from one to three miles, depending on location. For details about the hikes, difficulty, length, terrain, and tips regarding proper apparel, please visit DCR’s website. DCR encourages participants to tweet, post, and tag photos on social media using @MassDCR and #FirstDayHikes.

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