Kansas state parks to offer New Year’s Day hikes – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Kansas state parks to offer New Year’s Day hikes

Hikers are invited to celebrate the New Year with fun, fresh air, and scenic views by participating in a First Day Hike at a Kansas state park. The self-led and guided hikes are organized annually by parks staff to encourage individuals and families to start the year on the right foot, by getting outside and connecting with nature.

This year, more than 1,000 hikes will be available in state parks around the United States, including 33 First Day Hike events hosted by Kansas State Parks. While the distance and rigor of the hikes will vary at each state park, all aim to create a fun experience for all. Savor the beauty of the natural, cultural, and historical resources state parks offer, and be inspired to continue taking advantage of these local treasures throughout calendar year 2024.

“This will be our 13th year to offer First Day Hikes in Kansas’ state parks and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Linda Lanterman, Kansas State Parks director. “Each year, these events grow more and more popular because they’re a fun and healthy way to start the New Year, they’re a great cure for cabin fever, and they’re held in some of the prettiest parts of our state.”

Locally, hikes are available at Pomona State Park and on the Flint Hills Nature Trail.

  • Pomona State Park will offer a mixed route with a one-mile hike and a four-mile hike. Hikers should meet at 10 a.m. Jan. 1 at the park office. The one-mile hike will be good for young family groups and those not wanting a strenuous hike. The four-mile hike will be medium in difficulty due to the terrain. Hikers could see cedar waxwings, eagles, foxes, woodpeckers, owls, pelicans and other wildlife. Contact Pomona State Park at 785-828-4933.
  • The Flint Hills Nature Trail hike will begin at 9 a.m. Jan. 1, 2024, from the Council Grove trailhead at Seventh and Walnut streets in Council Grove. The trail is described as easy in difficulty, with participants encouraged to bring a bike to ride the trail. For more information, contact Flint Hills Trail State Park at 785-448-2627.

Kansas state parks’ staff recommend being prepared for the hike and consider bringing the following, if possible: Water, snacks, weather appropriate clothing such as hat, gloves, heavy coat, suitable shoes for hiking, binoculars, hiking stick, and camera

With limited availability, First Day Hike T-shirts will be offered to participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Depending on the park, a vehicle permit could be required; contact the state park for details.

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