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Free Guided Hikes in 15 State Parks on New Year's Day

Island Beach State Park is one of the sites for the holiday hikes

By Christina Johnson

The New Jersey State Park Service will conduct free guided hikes, walks, interpretive tours and other special outdoor activities at 15 locations across the state on New Year’s Day as part of the annualAmerica’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced.

Throughout the nation, First Day Hikes are being offered to encourage people to connect with nature, explore their parks, get exercise and enjoy the company of friends and family. 

“We invite you to experience the quiet beauty of nature in winter while benefiting from the company of a knowledgeable state park guide or volunteer and enjoying the health benefits of being outdoors in nature,” said Mark Texel, Director of the State Park Service.

Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which will range from a mile-long, accessible walks to an all-day 15-mile hike.

New Year’s Day free guided hikes will take place at the following New Jersey locations:

  • Bass River State Forest (Tuckerton) at 11 a.m.
  • Belleplain State Forest (Hike) 10 a.m.; (Mountain Bike Ride) 11 a.m.
  • Cheesequake State Park (Matawan) at1 p.m.
  • Grover Cleveland Birthplace State Historic Site (Caldwell) at 11 a.m.
  • Island Beach State Park, Explore History & Ecology Hikes at 9, 10, 11 a.m., 12 and 1 p.m.
  • Kittatinny Valley State Park, (Paulinskill Valley Trail Hike at Footbridge Park, Blairstown) at 10 a.m.
  • Kittatinny Valley State Park, (Paulinskill Valley Trail Horseback Ride at Halsey Farm) at 10 a.m.
  • Monmouth Battlefield State Park, (Manalapan) Battlefield Interpretive Tour at 11 a.m.; First Day Amble at 12 p.m.; Revolutionary Resolutions Hike at 1 p.m.
  • Princeton Battlefield State Park, (Princeton) at 7:30 a.m.
  • Rancocas State Park (New Lisbon) at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Ringwood State Park, (New Jersey Botanical Gardens, Ringwood) at 1 p.m.
  • Round Valley Recreation Area (Lebanon) at 10 a.m.
  • Spruce Run Recreation Area/Voorhees State Park(Highlands Trail, Asbury) 8:45 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Washington Crossing State Park (Titusville) at 10 a.m.
  • Waterloo Village (Stanhope) at 1 p.m.
  • Wharton State Forest (Atsion) at10 a.m.
  • Wharton State Forest (in Franklin Parker Preserve) at 10 a.m.
  • Wharton State Forest (Batsto Village) at 10:30 a.m.

For additional details about registration, hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing, see this website. 

Outside state parks, other New Year's Day hikes are being planned in the region. Read about the New Year's Day Beach Walk commencing at Fort Hancock, and the 19th Annual New Year's Day Greenway Walk in Holmdel.  Please tell us about others in the comments section below. 

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