The Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites everyone to join a First Day Hike, Maryland’s annual tradition for a fun, healthy kickoff to the New Year.
On Jan. 1, 2020, the Maryland Park Service will offer 40 guided hikes on 33 state lands and parks, as part of a nationwide event sponsored by America’s State Parks. The earliest of the hikes starts at 8 a.m. while the latest has been planned to take advantage of year’s first sunset.
Among the new hikes planned are a “Year of the Woman” hike at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Dorchester County, and a First Day Birding Hike at Chapman State Park in Charles County.
These hikes will provide a variety of outdoor adventures and experiences for every level of hiker and walker, including unique access to Maryland’s cultural, historic natural resources and treasures, along with opportunities for education and stewardship. Many hikes are even pet-friendly.
Numerous parks, state forests, and wildlife management areas will also be open Jan. 1 for self-guided treks.
“There’s no better way to start 2020 than with an invigorating hike exploring Maryland’s beautiful public lands,” Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said. “This growing tradition brings thousands of Marylanders together in resolution for better health and connection with our natural resources. There is a hike waiting for you in every corner of our state, for every ability and age.”
Among those hiking will be Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, continuing his commitment to visiting all Maryland state parks and other public lands by the time he leaves office. Lt. Gov. Rutherford began 2019 with a hike at Patapsco Valley State Park.
On New Year’s Day 2019, more than 3,700 people hiked 8,500 miles on 36 different First Day HIkes throughout Maryland — triple the previous year’s numbers.