Houghton’s Pond at the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, MA

Massachusetts kicks off the New Year with 13 invigorating First Day Hikes on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 in state parks and outdoor facilities throughout the Commonwealth.

Organized by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the First Day Hikes give residents and visitors a chance to get outside and enjoy recreational activities as part of their New Year’s Day celebrations.

Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said, “Each year, thousands of people across the Commonwealth ring in the New Year by participating in one of the many First Day Hikes offered at a state park near them,” adding that the hikes have become “a time honored tradition for many Massachusetts families.”

Park staff in each of the locations will lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on location.

First Day Hikes first began back in 1992 at the Blue Hills Reservation in the Town of Milton in an effort to promote year-round outdoor recreation, and to motivate the public to explore the Commonwealth’s awe-inspiring natural resources. A growing collection of participating states culminated in 2012 when all 50 state park systems joined together to sponsor America’s State Parks First Day Hikes Initiative, which has since become the signature nationwide program for the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD).

DCR Acting Commissioner Jim Montgomery said the First Day Hikes offer visitors an “opportunity to get outside and incorporate recreation with their friends and family. He said the hikes serve “as a great start for the New Year, and is an excellent way for visitors of all ages and abilities to discover the stunning environmental and recreational resources that the Commonwealth has to offer.”

Across Massachusetts, visitors to the state parks system can experience unique and cultural treasures that are close to home. From walking a historic canal to traversing through a forest, visitors witness an enchanting natural landscape that underscores the beauty of the Commonwealth.

Details about the hikes, difficulty, length, terrain, and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on DCR’s website.

Hikers are also encouraged to tweet, post, and tag photos on social media using @MassDCR and #FirstDayHikes.

Thirteen locations

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, 1 p.m.
287 Oak Street, Uxbridge
Meet at the Visitor Center. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m… Warm up after the hike at the River Bend Farm Visitor Center with hot cocoa and conversation. Co-Sponsored by the Blackstone Heritage Corridor and Blackstone River Watershed Association.

Wachusett Reservoir, 11 a.m.
211 Temple Street, West Boylston
Meet at Gate 22 on Route 140 in West Boylston.

Walden Pond State Reservation, Noon
915 Walden Street/Route 126, Concord
Meet at the New Visitor Center. Hot chocolate and light snacks will be available after the hike. Co-Sponsored by the Walden Woods Project, the Friends Group of Walden Pond State Reservation.

Breakheart Reservation, 10 a.m.
177 Forest Street, Saugus
Meet at the Christopher P. Dunne Visitor Center. Clam Chowder is served following the hike. Co-Sponsored by the Friends of Breakheart.

Harold Parker State Forest, 10 a.m.
305 Middleton Road, North Andover
Meet at the park headquarters. Warm up with a fire, hot chocolate, and refreshments. Co-sponsored by the Friends of Harold Parker.

Halibut Point State Park, 1 p.m.
Gott Avenue, Rockport
Meet at the parking lot.

Blue Hills Reservation, Noon
840 Hillside St, Milton
Activities at noon, then hike starts at 1 p.m. Hot chocolate and snacks provided by the Quincy Venture Scouts. Arrive early, parking is limited.

Nantasket Beach, 11 a.m.
212 Nantasket Ave, Hull
Meet at Mary Jeanette Murray Bathhouse. Enjoy hot chocolate and light snacks after the hike. Co-sponsored by the Town of Hull.

Nickerson State Park, 1 p.m.
3488 Main Street, Brewster
Meet at the Main Lot by the entrance. Enjoy Hot Chocolate after the hike. Co-sponsored by the Friends of Nickerson State Park.

Shawme Crowell State Forest, 10 a.m.
42 Main Street, Sandwich
Meet at the Contact Station.

Great Falls Discovery Center, 1 p.m.
2 Avenue A, Turners Falls
Meet in the Great Hall. Hot chocolate is served following the hike. Co-Sponsored by the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center.

Granville State Forest, 10:30 a.m.
323 West Hartland Road, Granville
Meet at the Park Headquarters. Warm up afterwards with a fire and warm beverage.

Mount Greylock State Reservation, 9:30 a.m. – Noon
30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough
Meet at the Visitor Center. There will be two opportunities for a hike, pre-registration is required.

For information about visiting Massachusetts any time of year, go to MassVacation.com.