Houghton’s Pond in the Blue Hills, Milton

Continuing a decades-long tradition, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced it is offering First Day Hikes throughout the Massachusetts State Parks System on Saturday, January 1, 2022. Organized by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Administration is offering seven guided hikes as part of the 31st annual First Day Hikes in Massachusetts. These walks provide the public with an opportunity to incorporate outdoor recreational activities into their New Year’s Day celebrations.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is thrilled to continue the tradition of offering First Day hikes at state parks throughout the Commonwealth again this year,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “There is nothing more invigorating than hiking through one of our beautiful parks with family and friends, and we’re pleased to offer the opportunity kick off the New Year by getting outside and exploring the wonderful natural resources we have here in Massachusetts.”

First Day Hikes were first offered to the public in 1992 at DCR’s Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, Massachusetts, in an effort to encourage year-round outdoor recreation and to inspire the public to discover the Commonwealth’s impressive natural resources. Since its inception, state’s across the nation began participating in the program, and then in 2012, all 50 state park systems joined together to sponsor America’s State Parks First Day Hikes Initiative, which has since become the signature program for America’s State Parks nationwide.

“The Department of Conservation and Recreation loves the tradition of kicking off the New Year by getting outdoors and exercising with family and friends while connecting with nature, and exploring the unique natural resources we have here in the Commonwealth,” said DCR Acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper.“We are excited that the program has been so popular with Massachusetts residents and beyond.”

Throughout the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts State Parks System offers incredible natural resources for visitors to explore, as well as exceptional recreational activities, such as hiking along mountain trails, walking along waterfronts, and traversing through forests. Additionally, this year’s First Day Hikes will average one to two miles or longer depending on location. For details about the hikes, difficulty, length, terrain, and tips regarding proper apparel, please visit DCR’s website. Furthermore, participants are also encouraged to tweet, post, and tag photos on social media using @MassDCR and #FirstDayHikes.

Central Region

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, 10 a.m.
287 Oak Street, Uxbridge
Meet at the Visitor Center. Registration begins at 9:00AM. Co-sponsored by the Blackstone Heritage Corridor and the Blackstone River Watershed Association.

Wachusett Reservoir, 11a.m.
167 Temple Street, West Boylston
Meet at Gate 22 on Route 140 in West Boylston, GPS address: 167 Temple Street, West Boylston.

North Region

Breakheart Reservation, 10 a.m.
177 Forest Street, Saugus
Meet at the Christopher P. Dunne Visitor Center. Co-sponsored by the Friends of Breakhear. There will be two guided hikes through the paved loops of Breakheart. The Center will remain open until noon. For more information call (781) 233-0834.

Harold Parker State Forest, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
305 Middleton Road, North Andover
Meet at the Harold Park Headquarters. Warm up afterwards with a fire and hot chocolate from the Friends of Harold Parker.

South Region

Blue Hills Reservation, Noon
840 Hillside Street, Milton
Gather at Houghton’s Pond Recreation Area at 11 a.m.. Two guided hikes and one self-guided hike begins at Noon. Enjoy hot chocolate sold by the Boy Scouts.

West Region

Great Falls Discovery Center, 1 p.m.
2 Avenue A, Turners Falls
Meet at the Main Entrance. Co-sponsored by the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center.

Mount Greylock State Reservation, 9:30 a.m. /12:30 p.m.
30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough
Meet at the Visitor Center Two hikes will be offered. Pre-registration required. For information on how to register see flyer for First Day Hike – Mt. Greylock State Reservation.

Self-guided Opportunities

Families are also encouraged to create their own First Day Hike adventure at a state park close to home. Additional information on self-guided hikes is available at www.mass.gov/dcr, which features almost 70 facilities statewide.

In addition, DCR-managed ice rinks in the City of Boston will hold free public skating on New Year’s Eve (12/31/21) from 10 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. with the exception of the Steriti Rink in the North End, which will be open for public skating from 10 a.m. to 9:50 p.m.. Also, on New Year’s Day (1/1/22) Steriti Rink will be open from 11 a.m. to 3:50 p.m..