Take a guided hike on New Year's Day at an Oklahoma state park
Eating black-eyed peas is an old New Year's Day tradition. Oklahoma State Parks now has a New Year's Day tradition of its own.
For the sixth straight year, Oklahoma State Parks will host "First Day Hikes" on Jan. 1. The free, guided hikes present an opportunity to begin the New Year on a healthy perspective by getting outdoors, connecting with nature and promoting year-round recreation, according to Oklahoma State Parks Director Kris Marek.
“Last year was the biggest year for our state park first-day hikers,” Marek said. “We had an outstanding turnout of more than 1,300 participants and hiked a combined 2,400 miles statewide at our parks. The weather was perfect for being outdoors and we hope Mother Nature cooperates with us again in 2018.”
Park staff and volunteers will lead the free hikes. Nineteen state parks were scheduled to hold New's Year Day hikes, but hikes at Lake Thunderbird and Greenleaf have already been canceled because of expected frigid temperatures.
First Day Hikes are still scheduled at the following state parks, but due to the anticipated cold weather, you should check before you go to see whether it has been canceled.
In southeastern Oklahoma
Arrowhead State Park on Lake Eufaula, Canadian: Meet at the park office at 10 a.m. for a moderate 1.25-mile hike. For more information, call 918-339-2204.
Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow: Meet at 11 a.m. at the Forest Heritage Center for a moderate 1-mile hike along the Beaver Creek Trail. 580-494-6300
Lake Eufaula State Park, Eufaula: Meet at 2 p.m. at the Deep Fork Nature Center for a moderate 2-mile hike on the Hummingbird Beach Trail. 918-689-5311
Lake Wister State Park, Wister: Meet at 1 p.m. at the Ward's Landing Shelter for an easy 1-mile hike along the Ward's Landing Trail. 918-655-7275
Robbers Cave State Park, Wilburton: Two separate hikes will be held simultaneously. Meet at the Butterfield Room at the Belle Starr View Lodge at 9:30 a.m. and choose from two different hikes.
The Belle Starr Loop Trail is a moderate-to-strenuous trail that is 2 miles long and will take about an hour and 30 minutes to complete. The Coon Ridge Trail is 1.83 miles in length and will take roughly the same amount of time to complete. 918-465-2565
McGee Creek State Park, Atoka: Meet at 1 p.m. at T-Hill in the park for a 1.4-mile easy walk through the Potapo Campground.
In southern and central Oklahoma
Lake Murray State Park, Ardmore: Meet at the Nature Center at 11 a.m. for an easy to moderate 2-mile hike along the Nature Center Loop. 580-223-4044
In western Oklahoma
Foss State Park, Foss: Meet at the Cedar Point Community Building at 2 p.m. for an easy 2.5-mile hike along the Great Western Trail. 580-592-4433
Roman Nose State Park, Watonga: Meet at 10 a.m. at the Public Swimming Pool parking lot for a moderate hike along the scenic Springs Trail. 800-892-8690.
Great Plains State Park, Mountain Park: Two separate hikes will be held. Hike No. 1 is on the easy half-mile paved Mountain Shade campground nature trail. Meet at 11 a.m. at the comfort station parking lot. Hike No. 2 is on the moderate 2-mile Granite Hills Hiking Trail. Meet at 12:30 p.m. at the park office. 580-569-2032
In northeastern Oklahoma
Keystone State Park, Mannford: Meet at the park office. The first hike begins at 12:01 a.m., and the second begins at 10:01 a.m. The moderate 1.25-mile hike will be held on the Rangers Pass Trail. Afterward, hikers can enjoy coffee and hot chocolate.
Osage Hills State Park, Pawhuska: Meet at the ball field at midnight for the first hike. A second hike will be held at 1 p.m. The easy 1-mile hikes will be along the Creek Loop Trail. 918-336-5635
Grand Lake State Park, Bernice: Meet at 11 a.m. at the Nature Center for an easy 1-mile hike along the paved trail. 918-257-8330.
Grand Lake State Park-Grand Cherokee Golf Course, Langley: Meet at noon at the pro shop for an easy 2.2-mile walk along the paved cart path. 918-435-8727
Natural Falls State Park, West Siloam Springs: Meet at the park office at 1 p.m. for a half-mile hike along the Dripping Springs Trail. Sections of the trail are moderate to difficult. 918-422-5802.
Tenkiller State Park, Vian: Meet at 1 p.m. at the Driftwood Nature Center for a moderate 1-mile hike along the accessible trail. Following the hike, refreshments will be available.
Sequoyah State Park, Hulbert: Meet at noon at the Three Forks Nature Center to sign-up for your choice of three separate hikes that begin at 1 p.m.
Hike No. 1 is child-friendly on a half-mile hike along an unpaved trail. Hike No. 2 is a 1-mile hike along the unpaved Interpretive Trail. Hike No. 3 is a moderate to strenuous hike along an unpaved trail in the park.
Following the hike, participants are invited to enjoy refreshments at Three Forks Nature Center. 918-772-2108.
Hikers should remember to wear weather-appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes. Bring a camera or binoculars for wildlife viewing, and don't forget water and snacks.
Pets on leashes are welcome at some parks, but not all. Participating Oklahoma State Parks are offering hot chocolate and warm beverages after completion of the hikes and encourage visitors to stay and explore other areas or enjoy the quiet beauty of the parks in the wintertime.
In case of bad weather, information on cancellation of hikes will be available by calling the state park or check the Oklahoma State Parks page on Facebook.