Visitors from across Texas laced up their shoes and packed on plenty of layers to usher in 2021 with a First Day Hike at a Texas State Park. In total, 2,668 people hiked and biked a total of 8,173 miles statewide.
This year, parks hosted a total of 60 events across the state and many were self-guided to encourage social distancing.
“I am thrilled that Texans bundled up and joined others in hiking Texas State Parks on the first day of the year,” said Rodney Franklin, Director of Texas State Parks. “It is a testament to the spirit of our visitors and their love of the outdoors to see so many for First Day Hikes. It was great to welcome folks young and old and see them enjoying the day. First Day Hikes is one of my favorite events and I would like to thank everyone that participated. Here’s to a better 2021 and I look forward to hosting even more of you for First Day Hikes in 2022!”
Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, about an hour southwest of Fort Worth, had the most participants for the second year in a row with 262 visitors.
Below are highlights from the field for this year’s First Day Hike events:
At Tyler State Park, visitors braved the cold and wind for their hikes. Although the weather hurt overall attendance this year, all hikers were in high spirits and had a lot of fun!
Choke Canyon State Park had two guided First Day Hikes with a total of 16 participants. No more than 10 people were on each hike to practice social distancing. Both walks were on the Emperor Run Trail and visitors learned about the history of Calliham, the town that was once in the park, native plants and the wildlife that call the park home.
Although the scheduled paddling event was cancelled due to creek conditions and it was cold and soggy from recent rains, visitors still made the trip to Village Creek State Park to participate in self-guided activities to ring in the New Year. Activities included a scavenger hunt and bird migration game.
Seven inches of snow would put a damper on some people’s First Day Hike plans, but one couple headed to Lake Colorado City State Park and hiked two miles on the Cactus Cut Trail to welcome in the New Year. They said they had a great time!
Fort Richardson State Park had five inches of snow fall, but that doesn’t mean the park was empty. The park saw a jump in attendance as many families came out to have snowball fights and build snowmen on the parade field.
For more information about hiking or other activities in Texas State Parks, visit http://www.texasstateparks.org.