Release Date

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, DEC. 20, 2023 – Do your new year resolutions include getting outside more? If so, why not start with a First Day Hike at a state park or historic site? This could be a new tradition as you get some healthy exercise while enjoying the great outdoors. First Day Hikes are promoted by America’s State Parks and held throughout the country. While registration is required for the guided hikes, participation is free. Visit for detailed information on the hikes and sign up today! All hikes take place Jan. 1, 2024.

  • Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, 10 a.m. to noon.
    Participants will hike the approximate 2-mile Dogwood Trail. The trail, which is considered to be moderately difficult, meanders through drainage bottoms and dry woodlands. Meet at the Guy Park Trailhead, located off Guy Park Drive in the valley of the park. For more information, call 636-458-3813. To register, visit Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park is located at 800 Guy Park Drive in Wildwood. 
  • Hawn State Park, 2 – 4 p.m.
    Meet the park team at White Oaks Trail trailhead for Hawn’s First Day Hike. This moderately difficult guided hike will follow White Oaks Trail to Connector 2, then take Whispering Pines Trail downstream along Pickle Creek to Connector 1 before ending at White Oaks Trail parking lot. The hike will cover approximately 2 miles and should take about two hours to complete. This trail is not considered ADA accessible and is not suitable for strollers, because there are loose rocks and uneven terrain. However, children are encouraged to attend and dogs are welcome if they are leashed. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Hawn Association. For more information, call 573-883-3603. To register, visit, and use the “Choose Date” box to find the listing. Hawn State Park is located at 12096 Park Drive in Ste. Genevieve.
  • Mastodon State Historic Site, 2 p.m.
    Hike Spring Branch Trail! The hike starts at the trailhead in the picnic, located at 1800 Seckman Road in Imperial. It will take participants through a creek bottomland into a young woodland area. Along the way, the interpreter will provide information about the area’s recent and ancient history and will discuss changes that forest organisms undergo during winter. Spring Branch Trail is flat 0.8-mile loop on a packed gravel surface. It is considered accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. The hike is suitable for all ages but is limited to 30 participants. Registration is required as space is limited and can be done by visiting For more information, call the office at 636-464-2976. Mastodon State Historic Site is located at 1800 Seckman Road in Imperial.
  • Meramec State Park, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
    “From Path to Path” – “As we wander through life, our path changes beneath our feet.” Similarly, this First Day Hike will follow several paths. Start out by walking the campground road to River Trail. From there, take the White Connector to Bluff View Trail, go past the historic CCC dining lodge, cross the park road to access Deer Hollow Trail, and take Deer Hollow Trail back to the campground. Along the way, explore woodlands, forest, river bottoms and bluffs. Stop to visit the spot where a former park resident once stood, one that experienced many moments in time: a bur oak tree that lived to be more than 300 years old! Meet in front of the visitor center and then drive down to the Fisher Cave parking lot. The trail is suitable for all ages, but it is not accessible for wheelchairs. For more information, call 573-468-6072. To register, visit Meramec State Park is located at 115 Meramec Park Drive in Sullivan.
  • Missouri Mines State Historic Site, 9 - 11 a.m.
    Join team members at Missouri Mines State Historic Site to hike the interpretive trail there. The easy 1-mile hike includes interpretation of old mining structures and equipment and of areas development over time. The interpretive trail features a mix of surfaces, with the majority being gravel, but there are also paved sections. Portions of the trail have steep slopes. Meet at the historic site’s gatehouse at the entrance to the site. Call 573-431-6226 for more information and register at Missouri Mines State Historic Site’s address is 4000 State Highway 32 in Park Hills.
  • St. Francois State Park, 1 – 4 p.m.
    Take a hike on Swimming Deer Trail with the park team. Considered moderately difficult, Swimming Deer Trail travels in the river bottom, along bluffs overlooking the Big River and through the woods. This 3.15-mile hike should take about two and a half hours to complete. For more information, call 573-358-2173. Meet at the trailhead in the campground. Registration can be done at St. Francois State Park can be found at 8290 U.S. Highway 67N in Bonne Terre.
  • St. Joe State Park, 1 - 3 p.m.
    Hike Lakeview Trail with the team from St. Joe State Park. The majority of the trail consists of natural surfaces, such as dirt and rock, but a 0.2-mile section along Monsanto Lake is paved and accessible. Portions of the trail along the lake follow the contours with a few rolling hills. Other portions of the trail area somewhat steep with loose gravel. The hike will be relatively easy overall and will cover a total of 1.25 miles. Call 573-431-1069 for more information and register at Participants should meet at Shelter 6 at Monsanto Lake. You can find St. Joe State Park at 2800 Pimville Road in Park Hills.
  • Washington State Park, 1 – 3 p.m.
    Hike, bike and trike at Washington State Park. Participants can take part in an interpreter-led hike on the rugged 1,000 Steps trail, or they can bring any human-powered wheeled equipment, such as bikes, trikes or strollers, to pedal or walk along the Big River Day-Use Area/Shelter #2 access road. The 1,000 Steps Trail is 1.5 miles, while the road option is about 1 mile. Following the hike, a warming station and snacks will be provided. The 1,000 Steps Trail is a natural surface trail and open to hiking only. The Big River Day-Use Area/Shelter#2 access road is paved and open to all equipment. It is also a more accessible option for hiking. For more information, call 636-586-5768. To register, visit Visit Washington State Park at 13041 State Highway 104 in DeSoto. 

For information on First Day Hikes at your nearest state park, go to Share your Jan. 1 hiking story on social media with #FirstDayHikes. For detailed information on any of these activities, please visit

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

Group of people hiking along a paved trail.

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