DES MOINES, Iowa- Iowa's State Parks will host First Day hikes on January 1st. The annual tradition attracts thousands of hearty hikers to parks across the state.
Bureau Chief Todd Coffeldt tells WHO Radio News more than two dozen parks will host special events, and some will offer a hot beverage and time to warm up by a fire after the hike.
The event was called off last year, due to bad weather, but Coffeldt is hoping the weather will cooperate this year. He says some use it as a way to begin a new year and commit to healthy New Year's resolutions.
He says while the winter season is typically more quiet state parks, those who brave the colder weather, will usually get to see some wildlife activity, including eagles.
Coffeldt says some walks start at 9, 10, 11 or in the afternoon, and the length of the hikes vary. He says some hikes will be easy, others more challenging.
Near Des Moines: First Day Hikes will take place at Walnut Woods in West Des Moines, Big Creek in Polk City, and at Ledges State Park in Boone County.
Near Cedar Rapids/Iowa City: First Day Hikes will take place at Lake MacBride in Johnson County and Cedar Rock in Buchanan County.
Click HERE for the list of participating parks.
Coffeldt says they're still compiling usage data from 2018, but he says overall usage rates were up. He credits good weather and tourism efforts for the increase.