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First Day Hikes on New Years Day in Kansas, Wichita

Take a hike on the first day of 2024 to start your new year off right! 

Numerous Kansas State Parks – and a Wichita city park – are offering First Day Hikes, which are guided hikes on New Year’s Day, January 1.

Bring the family – bundled up, of course, and wearing comfortable, sturdy hiking boots or shoes – and bring your camera for wildlife photos or a pair of binoculars.

State Parks in Kansas First Day Hikes

At some parks, you can bring your dog as long as it’s on a leash.

The Wichita hike is FREE. For the state park hikes, you’ll just need a state park vehicle license. (It’s generally only $5 for a day-pass if you don’t already have the State Park Passport.) Scroll down to see a list of all First Day Hikes in the state. 

Wichita-area First Day Hikes Closest to Wichita: 

Of all the parks that will have first-day hikes, the ones closest to Wichita are

  • Cheney State Park 
  • El Dorado State Park 
El Dorado State Park Walnut River Area photo by Carolyn Erickson
El Dorado State Park in late summer

Cheney State Park First Day Hike 

Roughly 37 min from Wichita 

  •  January 1, 2024,  at 2 p.m., meet at the Cheney Park Office for a 1-5 mile hike.  
  • The hike is moderate in difficulty.
  • Hikers can see animals, including deer, bald eagles, foxes, bobcats, meadowlars and more if you are lucky.
  • Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather (including hiking boots) and bring any water, snacks you think you might need. Leashed pets are welcome.
  • Other good items to bring might include binoculars or a camera.
  • They’ll have a collection box if you want to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the local food bank.
  • They will have a limited number of First Day Hike t-shirts available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • For more information about the Cheney First Day Hike, call the park office at (316) 542-3664 or visit the Cheney State Park Facebook page.

El Dorado State Park First Day Hike

Roughly 42 min from Wichita 

On January 1, 2021 at 1 p.m. meet at the Walnut River Cabins for a 2-mile hike along the Walnut River Trail. Dress warm and bring a camera for wildlife pictures. This will be an easy-to-moderate hike. It is pet-friendly as long as your pet is on a leash. After the hike, enjoy refreshments, campfire, and group photo. Again, vehicle permits are  required for park entrance, which are $5 for each car (unless you have the Kansas State Parks Passport).

For more info on this hike, call the park office at (316) 321-7180 or check out the park’s Facebook page.

Related Articles: 

Walking and Bike Trails in Wichita

Great Plains Nature Center 

Kansas State Parks First Day Hikes

If you’d like to venture a little further afield, State Parks all across Kansas are hosting first-day hikes as well. 

According to KansasOutdoors.com, these other Kansas parks are also participating in First Day Hikes. Each may have its own start/end times and specific instructions, so be sure to call or check the link above for event details for your nearest state park First Day Hike.

Again, vehicle permits are required for these, which are only $5 per car.

After you’ve finished your trek, be sure to share your photos with staff and fellow hikers by using the hashtags #FirstDayHikes and #MyKSStatePark.

Hiking in Kansas

New Year’s Day Women and Girls Hike – Not confirmed for this year 

This New Year’s Day hike is for women and girls! Join the group ‘Women Hiking KS and Beyond’ in the parking lot of the Great Plains Nature Center at 9 a.m. for a meet up and a group picture and then everyone will be sent out to hike the trail(s) of your choice.

The majority of trails are paved; some are dirt. You can hike and/or walk as little or as many miles as you want. The trails circle around the nature center and you can return or turn around at any time you prefer.

Strollers are allowed. Dogs aren’t. Chisholm Park trails are free, but the group is suggesting a $2 donation per hiker for this event. See the Facebook event page here for complete information.


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