Take a hike on the first day of 2021 to start your new year off right.
Numerous Kansas State Parks – and one 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.
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.)
Wichita-area First Day Hikes
Of all the parks that will have first-day hikes, the ones closest to Wichita are, of course, Pawnee Prairie Park (which is actually in Wichita), El Dorado, and Cheney.
Great Plains Nature Center, New Year’s Day Women and Girls Hike
This New Year’s Day hike is for women and girls! Meet in Great Plains Nature Center parking lot 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. No dogs allowed. For more information.
El Dorado State Park First Day Hike
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. Vehicle permits are required, 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.
Cheney State Park First Day Hike
Also on January 1, 2021, but at 2 p.m., meet at the Cheney Park Office for a guided hike. Again, the vehicle permit is required. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather (including hiking boots) and bring any water, snacks you think you might need. They will have shirts and granola bars while supplies last. Other good items to bring might include binoculars or a camera. You can bring your pet on a leash. 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.
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.
- Clinton State Park
- Crawford State Park
- Glen Elder State Park
- Wilson State Park
- Fall River State Park
- Green Property – Pratt, KS
- Kanopolis State Park
- Cedar Bluff State Park
- Perry State Park
- Pomona State Park
- Tuttle Creek State Park
- Milford State Park
- Meade State Park
- Sand Hills State Park
- Flint Hills Nature Trail
- Elk City State Park
- Hillsdale State Park
- Prairie Dog State Park
- Historic Lake Scott State Park
- Webster State Park
After you’ve finished your trek, be sure to share your photos with staff and fellow hikers by using the hashtags #FirstDayHikes and #MyKSStatePark.
Friday, January 1, 2021
Pawnee Prairie First Day Hike
Enjoy a family-friendly hike on January 1, 2020 from 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. along the Pawnee Prairie Park trails. Meet at the Nature Center at 2625 S. Tyler Rd., Wichita, KS 67215 dressed in layers with comfortable and warm hiking shoes/boots. Bring along some water too.
You can bring your pet on a leash. The hike will be held rain or shine. Plan to take a group photo before the hike at 9:45 a.m. For more information and updates, check facebook.com/WichitaParkandRec.