The Lead

DCNR to host ‘first day’ hikes at Pa. state parks to boost health, foster connection to public lands

By: - December 20, 2022 11:29 am

(c) candy1812 –

Pennsylvanians looking to spend more time outdoors or who want to focus on their health and wellness in the new year will have the opportunity to start 2023 with a hike through state parks across the commonwealth. 

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced this week that it will host nearly 60 guided hikes in 34 state parks and three forest districts on New Year’s Day as part of the nationwide “First Day Hike” effort to promote a “healthy start in the new year.”

“First Day Hikes are a great way to start the new year in natural spaces, which we [are] hopeful will continue throughout the year,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said in a statement. “These hikes are also a reminder [that] our state parks and forests are open for healthy outdoor adventures in all four seasons.”

First day hikes, which are usually between one and two miles, will be led by a combination of state park staff and volunteers, DCNR said. 

The following Pennsylvania state park and forest facilities are participating during daylight hours on January 1, 2023: 

  • Black Moshannon
  • Blue Knob
  • Caledonia
  • Canoe Creek
  • Codorus
  • Cook Forest
  • Cowans Gap
  • Delaware Canal
  • French Creek
  • Gifford Pinchot
  • Hills Creek
  • Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center
  • Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
  • Kinzua Bridge
  • Lackawanna
  • Laurel Hill
  • Little Buffalo
  • Lyman Run
  • Marsh Creek State Park
  • Maurice K. Goddard
  • Michaux State Forest – Beaver Trail
  • Moraine
  • Nescopeck
  • Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center
  • Parker Dam
  • Pine Grove Furnace
  • Presque Isle
  • Prince Gallitzin
  • Raccoon Creek
  • RB Winter
  • Ridley Creek
  • Sinnemahoning
  • Susquehanna Riverlands
  • Tiadaghton State Forest – Pine Creek Rail Trail
  • Warriors Path State Park
  • White Clay Creek Preserve
  • William Penn State Forest – Buck Hollow Tract

Dunn said that participation is a great way to connect with nature and other recreationists. 

“I encourage Pennsylvanians, and those visiting for the holidays, to consider taking a hike and to make the time to connect with park staff and like-minded outdoors enthusiasts,” Dunn said. “Now is the perfect time to begin building [a] meaningful bond with our public lands.”

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.