If you’re thinking about a commitment to a healthy lifestyle as one of your New Year’s resolutions, one of the First Day Hikes at a nearby state park may be a great way to usher in the New Year.
Cloudland Canyon State Park and Fort Mountain State Park in Northwest Georgia and the Desoto State Park in Northeast Alabama are among the parks slated to participate in the nationwide program.
Regardless of the park, hikers are encouraged to dress appropriately, bring binoculars, a camera and a water bottle. People not accustomed to hiking during the winter months can enjoy views that are not typically available when leaves are on the trees. “You can really appreciate the magnificent shapes of trees, and you’ll see rocks and streams that are normally out of sight. Plus, winter is a good time to look for wildlife like fox and turkey,” said Becky Kelly, director of the State Parks division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The Cloudland Canyon cut into Lookout Mountain southwest of Chattanooga will take hikers to Hemlock Falls and Cherokee Falls where visitors will be able to learn more about the unique geology and history of the canyon. There is a $10 fee for the hike at Cloudland Canyon, which will be led by the parks outfitter guides. Contact the park at 706-913-7170 for additional details.
The Fort Mountain First Day Hike is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and the park’s website does not indicate there is a fee for that program. People can reach park officials at 706-601-7593
In Alabama southeast of Fort Payne, visitors to Desoto State Park will take a six-mile hike that is regarded as one of moderate difficulty. The trek will allow visitors to see several waterfalls.
The Desoto First Day Hike will begin at the park’s Country Store at 10 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. CST. Additional information is available by calling the park at 256-601-7593.
The events are being coordinated across the nation by America’s State Parks, an advocacy organization created to educate the public about the importance of state parks and enhance cooperation between parks officials in all 50 states.