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Connecticut Celebrates the New Year with First Day Hikes on Jan 1

In-Person and Self-Guided Hikes Available at Selected CT State Parks and Forests

(HARTFORD)—What better way to kick off the New Year than by getting a jump start burning off those extra holiday calories in the great outdoors? Get outside walking and hiking on January 1st with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) State Parks, its partners and Friends groups, as Connecticut once again takes part in the annual First Day Hikes. These hikes provide a great way to welcome the coming year in the outdoors, exercising and connecting with nature. For many it has become a tradition.


America’s State Parks First Day Hikes, a nationwide initiative of the National Association of State Park Directors, offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2022 at a state park close to home. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.


DEEP State Parks and Forests Friends groups have put together a range of in-person and self-guided hikes and programs for those looking to participate. Visit the DEEP Calendar of Events to select from various First Day Hike options. Distance and rigor vary from park to park, but all hikes aim to create a fun experience for the whole family. People are invited to savor the beauty of the CT State Parks’ natural resources so they may be inspired to take advantage of these local treasures throughout the year.


This year, CT State Parks will continue adapting First Day Hikes with health and safety in mind with both traditional hikes and self-guided hikes. Participants are asked to follow DEEP’s New Normal Guidelines as everyone plays a role in keeping the community safe during this pandemic. Those who are not yet fully vaccinated should continue to wear a face mask outdoors when social distancing is not possible.


“DEEP is proud to once again be hosting First Day Hikes to promote outdoor recreation and welcome people to their beautiful state parks that are available for enjoyment year-round,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Thanks to the Passport to the Parks program, Connecticut is the only northeast state that does not charge day-use parking fees for state residents who are driving Connecticut-registered vehicles, making our small state one of the most outdoor friendly states in the Northeast and an attractive option for those who are relocating from large metropolitan areas. We hope you get out and enjoy many of the 142 state parks and forests that make our state a great place to live, in 2022.”


In Connecticut, over a dozen First Day Hikes will be offered at State Park and Forest locations (offerings may change, visit the DEEP Events Calendar and search by keyword “first day hike” for updates and additions), including:

  • Auerfarm State Park Scenic Reserve
  • Bluff Point State Park
  • Chatfield Hollow State Park
  • Gillette Castle State Park
  • Goodwin State Forest 
  • Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park 
  • Kettletown State Park
  • Mansfield Hollow State Park 
  • Machimoodus/Sunrise State Park
  • Pachaug State Forest
  • Peoples State Forest -Sky’s the Limit Hike
  • Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area
  • Sherwood Island State Park

Established in 1913, the mission of the Connecticut State Park System is to provide natural resource-based public recreational and educational opportunities through a system of state park and forest recreation areas, environmental centers, and nature centers that provide an understanding of, access to, and enjoyment of, the state’s historic, cultural and natural resources.

Our state parks are one of the many things that make Connecticut a great place to visit, including during the winter season. Go here, to learn more about “The State I’m In.”

Twitter: @CTDEEPNews
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DEEP Communications