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Neighbors Growing Together | Mar 24, 2018

Spend Monday on First Day Hike in Iowa’s state parks

First Day Hikes are set Monday at Lacey-Keosauqua and Lake Darling state parks in southeast Iowa.
Dec 28, 2017

DES MOINES — Free, guided hikes will take place in 26 Iowa state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America’s First Day Hikes initiative. Hikers can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, and experience spectacular views, beautiful settings and the cultural treasures offered by Iowa’s state parks.

All 50 states will participate in the seventh annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with a guided outdoor exploration.

“We are excited to host First Day Hikes again as part of this effort to get people outdoors and into our parks,” says Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau. “These hikes are a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.”

Last year, more than 1,200 people began the year in an Iowa state park, hiking more than 1,100 total miles.

Staff and volunteers will lead First Day Hikes in Iowa’s 26 participating state parks. Some hikes will include wildlife viewing and hot beverages. Hikes will average one to two miles or longer depending on the location. Details about the hikes can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/firstdayhikes. To see a comprehensive national map of First Day Hikes, visit www.stateparks.org Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes or #iowastateparks.

Iowa First Day Hikes will take place in several state parks in the southeast part of Iowa.

Meet at 10 a.m. Monday at the Lacey-Keosauqua State Park lodge for a hike along the Des Moines River bluffs. Hikers will see bald eagles and waterfowl. The trail is moderately difficult and will be 2 to 3 miles long. Hot chocolate, coffee and soup will be available at the end of the hike. For possible cancellation information, visit www.iowadnr.gov/parks and click on “closure information” or call 319-293-3502.

Meet at 10 a.m. Monday at the Lake Darling State Park lodge for a 1.5- to 2-mile hike on the Ding Darling Interpretive Pathway. The trail is moderately difficult. Hot chocolate and coffee will be provided by the Friends of Lake Darling. Children of all ages are welcome. For cancellation Information visit www.iowadnr.gov/parks and click on “closure information” or call 319-644-2323.

Meet at 10 a.m. Monday in the Lake Wapello State Park campground parking lot. The hikers will take the 1-mile Lake Shore Trail and link to the campground trail back to the parking lot. The trail is moderately difficult. Hot chocolate will be provided. For possible cancellation information, www.iowadnr.gov/parks and click on “closure information” or call 641-208- 2207.

Meet at 1 p.m. Monday at the Honey Creek Resort State Park activities building to go on an easy 1- to 2-mile naturalist-led Trails, Tracks and Scat Hike looking for evidence of animals along the way. Some binoculars will be provided, but hikers might want to bring their own. For possible cancellation information, visit the website www.iowadnr.gov/parks and click on “closure information” or call 641-724-1450.

For all First Day Hikes, dress for the weather. Wear layers of clothing and sturdy hiking boots or shoes, as well as hats and gloves.

Binoculars and a camera always come in handy.

Remember to bring water.

Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult, although some hikes might not be appropriate for children under 5 years. Strollers are not recommended.

Dogs must be on a leash and are not allowed into indoor locations, such as lodges and visitor centers.

Trail difficulty might depend on the amount of snow on the ground.


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