(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) – In all 50 states, hikers in America’s State Parks will kick off the new year with healthy, fun, outdoor experiences as part of the annual First Day Hikes event. This year for First Day Hikes, the State Parks of Arkansas will not offer guided hikes at any location. However, self-guided walks and hikes are encouraged on the “First Weekend,” on January 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

“Enjoying nature and the crisp winter air is a great way to start the new year off on a positive note,” said Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst. “There are so many trails to explore at our 52 state parks, I’m sure all our guests will find the perfect one for them.”

Visitors who log their hikes and miles that take place in an Arkansas State Park can share their experiences at ArkansasStateParks.com/FirstDayHikes. In return, they’ll receive a free sticker for themselves and each person in their group. 

“Even though this year will be different than First Day Hikes in the past, we are still convinced that participants will have an experience to remember,” said Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann. “My family and I have made this an annual tradition and it never fails to make January 1st a happy day.”

Arkansas State Parks are asking visitors to recreate responsibly and abide by rules instituted due to COVID-19:

  • When the parking lot is full the park will not allow more visitors in
  • Visitors need to practice social distancing
  • Masks are mandatory inside any park facility
  • Make sure to bring water for the hike

A few park locations are closed on the January 1st holiday but will be open on January 2nd and 3rd. Visit our event calendar to find a park near you ArkansasStateParks.com.

About Arkansas State Parks

Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities, and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and War Memorial Stadium.

The state parks have 1,800 campsites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities, and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.

Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation. Connect with us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and visit ArkansasStateParks.com and ArkansasStateParks.com/media to learn more about everything we have to offer.