Claytor Lake State Park is among several state parks with special events planned for Jan. 1, 2023
Starting off the new year with a First-Day Hike at any of the Virginia State Park locations has become a tradition for many people as well as the opportunity to get some exercise, explore the outdoors, and connect with nature while enjoying the park’s unique beauty.
Parking is free at all Virginia State Park locations on Jan. 1, 2023, and visitors to each park will receive a celebratory First Day Hike sticker while supplies last.
Hikers can choose a solo adventure or a ranger-led hike to help elevate the adventure of the visit.
Here are some locations to consider for a First-Day Hike:
Pocahontas State Park offers a New Year’s Eve hike starting at 11 p.m. that explores a 2.3-mile portion of Lakeview Bike Trail, which is not commonly open to hikers. The event is free, but registration is required by calling 804-796-4472 or emailing Rebecca.email@example.com. Additional hikes on various trails are offered at 8 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
Sky Meadows State Park provides an opportunity for hikers to celebrate the new year by watching the sunrise. On January 1, 2023, the park gates on Edmonds Lane will open at 5:30 a.m. so hikers can enjoy a self-guided hike from the Backcountry Trailhead to view the sunrise at one of the overlooks on the Piedmont Overlook Trail, the South Ridge Trail or the Ambassador Whitehouse Trail. Ranger-led hikes are available at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Claytor Lake State Park will open at 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day, giving visitors the opportunity to watch the sunrise and take part in various hikes and activities. Hikers can join a Virginia Master Naturalist on a short hike in search of different bird species at 10 a.m., learn to make syrup at noon, and take a hike to the vernal pool at 2 p.m. Later on, hikers can enjoy the evening by viewing the lights on the lake from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. via taking a walk down to the gazebo behind the Howe House.
Twin Lakes State Park offers a 3-mile Otter’s Path trail for First Day Hikes. Hikers must stop by the park office first to grab the geocache list for the hike and make sure to download the geocaching app before visiting. For First Day Hikes, each Otters Path Trail cache will contain a card with information about people important to the history of the park, allowing guests to learn more about the story of this site while on the trail.
Natural Tunnel State Park offers a guided hike to Lovers’ Leap where park rangers will relate the tale of the star-crossed lovers. The hike is around two miles long, begins at 9 a.m., and has several inclines and declines.
Anyone in or near the Virginia Beach area can visit First Landing State Park for a guided hike on Bald Cyprus Trail. Meet at the Trail Center picnic tables for this one-hour hike that is offered at 10:00 a.m., noon, and 2:00 p.m. Hikers can also enjoy a self-guided hike on the many other park trails.
York River State Park, located in Williamsburg, offers a guided hike from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. along the banks of the York River and Woodstock Pond. The hike will cover 1.5 miles through upland woods and will end along the York River shoreline. Hikers can also enjoy a self-guided adventure along the several other hiking and multi-purpose trails.
Submitted by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation