Feeling run down from the holiday excitement? Reinvigorate with a First Day Hike at an Alabama State Park! On New Year’s Day 2013, DeSoto, Gulf, Joe Wheeler, Lake Guntersville, Monte Sano, and Oak Mountain will each host a guided hike to help start the year off right. All 50 states are hosting First Day Hikes to encourage the public to spend time outdoors, reduce stress and improve quality of life. The hikes are free, but park entrance fees apply.

Locations and times below:

  • DeSoto
    • Location: DeSoto State Park country store
    • Time: 10 a.m.
    • Contact: Brittney M. Hughes, 256-601-7593 or 256-997-5025
  • Gulf
    • Location: Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trail parking lot on State Road 2
    • Time: 1 p.m.
    • Contact: Kelly Reetz, 251-948-7275
  • Joe Wheeler
    • Location: Lodge lobby
    • Time: 10:30 a.m.
    • Contact: Tim Haney, 256-247-5466
  • Lake Guntersville
    • Location: Lodge lobby
    • Time: 9:45 a.m.
    • Contact: Nick Guinn, 256-571-5444
  • Monte Sano
    • Location:  CCC Museum at the scenic overlook
    • Time: 1 p.m.
    • Contact:  Kent Wilborn, 256-534-3757
  • Oak Mountain
    • Location: Marina parking lot on Terrace Drive
    • Time: 10 a.m.
    • Contact: Emily Cook, 205-620-2520

Can’t make one of the New Year’s hikes? There are plenty of self-guided hikes at all of Alabama’s 22 state parks. Other hiking/biking options outside of the state park system include Alabama’s Forever Wild properties. For trail maps and more, visit alapark.com or alabamaforeverwild.com.

In addition to hiking, Alabama State Parks offer a wide variety of outdoor recreation options and overnight accommodations. Winter is an especially good time to visit an Alabama State Park as several of the parks offer discounted rates on cabins, and lodge and hotel rooms. Visit alapark.com for more details.

Logo courtesy Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

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