More than 30 state spots to host new year hike

Several wooden bridges are featured along Yellow Rock Trail in Devil’s Den State Park.

Caroline Bauman

Getting off on the right foot with New Year’s resolutions to get outside and exercise will be easy this year, thanks to Arkansas State Parks.

Group outings will be offered at 31 of the state’s 52 parks Wednesday for anyone who would like to celebrate the coming year with a guided hike.

“First Day Hikes” have become an established tradition across America, according to the Travel Arkansas website, with more an 20,000 first day hikers logging a total of 43,911 miles across the United States on Jan. 1, 2013.

Guided hikes in Northwest Arkansas include trails at Hobbs State Park and Devil’s Den State Park, just to name a few.

At Hobbs, the first tour will be along the Shaddox Hallow Trail from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a second tour along the Sinking Stream Trail from 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Devil’s Den visitors and their furry (and leashed) friends can embark on a 2-hour, 1.5-mile trek on the Devil’s Den Trail and hear the history behind the state park’s name. A second 2-hour hike will kick off at 3 p.m. at the Yellow Rock trailhead.

A 10 a.m. hike at Mount Magazine State Park will take visitors to the highest point in the state, and Petit Jean State Park hikes will include a tour of Rock House Cave.

With 142 trails totaling 390 miles throughout Arkansas’s state park systems, first day hikes offer the opportunity to “begin the new year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors,” said Arkansas State Parks Director Greg Butts.

“Enjoying a state park trail is a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the new year with family or friends,” he said. “Explore a trail on your own, or join a state park interpreter on a guided hike. Our interpreters will connect you to the beauty and history of the parks, and you’ll enjoy shared experiences, creating memories to last a lifetime.”

A full list of parks and trails can be found at the State Parks of Arkansas website.