KC in the Afternoon

KC in the Afternoon

KC in the Afternoon

Raven Rock is one of the North Carolina State Parks offering a First Day hike on New Year's Day.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to be more active, you can get off on the right foot on the very first day of 2024. The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation has recently announced the return of the annual New Year’s Day First Day Hikes at many North Carolina State Parks.

As the name suggests, the hiking events will take place at most NC state parks on January 1. Participants will be able to enjoy breathtaking scenic views of the Tarheel state as they walk along different trails and paths according to their comfort level and hiking experience.

In a recent news release, State Parks Director Brian Strong spoke excitedly about the upcoming events for First Day Hikes. “After a few years of smaller First Day Hikes programming, we are excited to offer a wide variety of guided hikes and events at most of our state parks for 2024,” Strong said. “We hope our visitors take the opportunity, as we wrap up the holiday season, to bring family and friends and begin a new year of outdoor adventures together.”

First Day Hikes is a nationwide event put together by the National Association of State Park Directors. While the tradition itself is over 30 years old, it wasn’t until 2012 that all 50 states participated.

Boasting over 40 state parks and a seemingly endless array of picturesque landscapes, North Carolina is more than well-suited for this sort of thing. There are many official First Day Hikes events set to take place across various North Carolina state parks. Registration is required at most of them so make sure you’re quick to sign up if you wish to participate.

The official list of upcoming First Day Hikes in North Carolina State Parks can be seen here, but here are some of the can’t-miss events. Whether you’re a novice hiker or a seasoned backpacker, these are the perfect First Day Hikes events for you!

  • Nature Hike at Carvers Creek State Park (Fayetteville)


    Welcome the new year with a guided hike at Carvers Creek State Park! There are three hikes to choose from: one at Sandhills Access and two at Long Valley Farm Access.

    Carvers Creek is also hosting a History Hike as well. Click here for more info.

  • First Day Bingo at Pilot Mountain State Park (Pinnacle)


     Visitors are encouraged to do a self-guided hike and complete a bingo sheet based on what you find!

    Click here for more info.

  • First Day Hike at Lumber River State Park - Princess Ann Access (Orrum)


    Kick off the new year right with a guided hike by the beautiful Lumber River!

    Click here for more info.

  • First Day Hike at Raven Rock State Park (Lillington)


    Join a park ranger for this hike to discover some of the natural wonders of this Piedmont landmark.

    Click here for more info.

  • First Day "Trash and Treasure" Beach Walk at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area (Kure Beach)

    Come see what “trash and treasure” was left on the beach the night before. You can help keep the beachfront beautiful and enjoy some beautiful beachy views while you’re at it!

    Click here for more info.

  • First Day Hike Scavenger Hunt at William B. Umstead State Park (Raleigh)


    For First Day Hike 2024, William B. Umstead is offering a self-guided scavenger hunt! You can pick your favorite trail at the park to explore and collect every item on your scavenger sheet.

    Click here for more info.

  • First Day Hike at Hanging Rock State Park (Westfield)


    This 2.6 mile hike will feature moderate-to-difficult terrain, but the payoff is the gorgeous views of North Carolina’s historic and iconic Hanging Rock.

    Click here for more info.

  • First Day Hike at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area (Apex)


    This easy 1 mile trail is perfect for beginners, and will offer a guided historical lesson from a park ranger as you walk by Ebenezer Church.

    Click here for more info.


  • First Day Hike at South Mountains State Park (Connelly Springs)


    This family-friendly trail has something to offer for all ages. Along the way, a park ranger will talk about bears and other animals in the park, as well as geology and waterfalls.

    Click here for more info.

  • Late Afternoon Stroll at Lake Norman State Park (Troutman)


    Lake Norman will offer two ranger-led guided hikes between the hours of 4 and 5pm.

    Click here for more info.

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