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First Day Hikes at Virginia State Parks

From the Department of Conservation and Recreation:

Start the New Year with a visit to one of our 39 Virginia State Parks on January 1. Taking a hike to inspire those New Year resolutions centered on getting or keeping fit is the perfect family-friendly activity. First Day Hikes is an initiative of America’s State Parks, and hikes are offered in state parks across the country. We have many hikes and opportunities to choose from, or you can visit a park of your choosing and create your own special First Day Hike. Please be safe on your adventure and enjoy free parking*!

 

First Day Hike Challenge First Day Hike Photo Contest First Day Hike Trail Guides and Activities

First Day Hike Challenge

Join the First Day Hike Challenge. This year, participation is easier than ever. Simply visit one of our Virginia State Parks on January 1, and then enter the contest. One entry is allowed per mailing address. Include the number in your party, the length you hiked, and some basic information. Winners will be selected by random drawing. This entry will be used to mail your Collector’s Edition First Day Hike sticker. If you don’t have a way to calculate your hiking distance, download the park’s Avenza map and the Avenza app can calculate the distance you hiked.

Prizes:

  • Grand Prize: $500 Virginia State Parks gift certificate
  • 1st Place: $250 Virginia State Parks gift certificate
  • 2nd Place: $100 Virginia State Parks gift certificate
  • 3rd Place: $75 Virginia State Parks gift certificate

 

First Day Hike Photo Contest

While you’re out on your hike, take some photos to include in the First Day Hike Photo Contest.

You may enter up to 3 photos. It is important to note that all 3 photos must be uploaded at one time as part of the contest entry. If you visit and take photos at more than one park, please specify the name of the park as part of the photo name. This is a requirement related to the way the contest software works. Failure to upload them at the same time may prevent you from uploading 3 photos. Please read the contest rules carefully. Photos must be taken on Jan. 1, 2020, and uploaded to the contest before 11:59 p.m. that day.

Prizes:

  • Grand Prize: $500 Virginia State Parks gift certificate
  • 1st Place: $250 Virginia State Parks gift certificate
  • 2nd Place: $100 Virginia State Parks gift certificate
  • 3rd Place: $75 Virginia State Parks gift certificate
  • And a special prize for the most creative COVID-19 mask(s).

 

Trail Guides and Activity Sheets

Many of the parks have created self-guided hike trail guides and activity sheets to help you on your journey.

 

Park Trail Maps

Download park maps to help you navigate the trails.

Be Safe

Because of COVID-19 limitations, we have made contingencies to have more self-guided opportunities or require advance registration for some of the guided events. More changes are possible if maximum group sizes change so please check back closer to January 1. Please bring a mask as they are required in all indoor facilities including restrooms, and when social distancing is not possible (like access points and parking lots). Please read the program listings carefully so you will know what is required

Parking

** While nearly all our parks will be free, there are two exceptions. Natural Bridge State Parks has a per person admission fee for access to the bridge that still applies. The $5 parking fee for trail access outside of the Natural Bridge is waived. Per person admission at Southwest Virginia Museum also applies.

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