Release Date

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, DEC. 15, 2022 – Is there a better way to kick off the new year than by getting outside and burning off some extra holiday calories? On New Year’s Day, America’s State Parks organization will once again celebrate with the year’s inaugural First Day Hikes initiative.

In its twelfth year, the annual event gives people the opportunity to start the year with an outdoor hike at a state park. These organized hikes offer individuals and families a unique tradition to welcome the coming year in the outdoors, exercising and connecting with nature.

This year, more than 400 hikes are scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 1, in all 50 states. Join fellow hikers by getting your heart pumping and enjoying the beauty of a state park. Details on every state’s 2023 hikes are located at

In Missouri, you’re invited to join a state park team member for a one- to three-hour guided hike through a Missouri state park. You'll burn off some holiday calories, cure cabin fever and enjoy the winter landscape and wildlife. Distance and rigor vary from park to park, but all hikes aim to create a fun experience for all. Participants are invited to savor the beauty of the state park’s natural resources so they may be inspired to take advantage of these local treasures throughout the year.
“Participating in a First Day Hike is a great way to start a new year with friends and family,” said David Kelly, director of the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks. “We encourage you to get out and enjoy some fresh air, while exploring the landscape of your favorite Missouri State Park. We’d love to see you start off the new year at one of our 92 state parks and historic sites and continue to visit throughout the year. With more than 1,000 miles of trail, you can take advantage of both the physical and mental health benefits of nature!”

Last year, nearly 55,000 people participated in guided hikes that covered more than 133,000 miles in all 50 states. Participants are encouraged to log their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes.

To learn more about each hike, register and find meeting times and locations, visit Be sure to dress for the weather, bring water and snacks and please stay home if sick. Missouri state parks participating in the First Day Hike initiative include: 

  • Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, Wildwood
  • Bennett Spring State Park, Lebanon.
  • Big Sugar Creek State Park, Pineville
  • Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead State Historic Site, Ash Grove
  • Bryant Creek State Park, Ava
  • Crowder State Park, Trenton
  • Cuivre River State Park, Troy
  • Graham Cave State Park, Danville
  • Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Camdenton
  • Hawn State Park, Ste. Genevieve
  • Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Kaiser
  • Meramec State Park, Sullivan
  • Missouri Mines State Historic Site, Park Hills
  • Onondaga State Park, Leasburg
  • Prairie State Park, Mindenmines
  • Roaring River State Park, Cassville
  • Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Columbia
  • St. Francois State Park, Bonne Terre
  • St. Joe State Park, Park Hills
  • Table Rock State Park, Branson
  • Thousand Hills State Park, Kirksville
  • Wallace State Park, Cameron
  • Washington State Park, De Soto
  • Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site, Lawson

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Contact Information