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Maryland State Park First Day Hikes
January 1, 2014

View a 2013 First Day Hike video in Patapsco Valley State Park


Assateague State Park First Day Hike
Ilia Fehrer / Judy Johnson Memorial Beach Walk

Time of Event: 1 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the Assateague State Park Concession Building
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for families of all ages. The guided hike will take place on the beach toward the north end of the island.
Length of Trail: 1 mile round trip
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for cold/windy weather including hats and gloves and bring water for drinking and a camera (optional). Hot chocolate will be served on the concession deck following the walk.
RSVP: Call Assateague State Park at 410-641-1094
Additional Information: Join Ranger Bill Yates and Ranger Liz Davis for this year's hike featuring "Life on the Edge." Visit a place re-created each day by ocean wind and waves. Life on Assateague Island has adapted to an experience on the move. You'll explore the sandy beach focusing on the changes the island has seen through the years, both many years past and as recent as Hurricane Sandy last year. Search for a variety of shells and artifacts found along the edge, and learn how this ever-changing shoreline brings in new treasures every day.
The first Assateague Beach Walk was held on January 1, 1970. The newly formed Committee to Preserve Assateague Island hosted the inaugural event to draw attention to Assateague’s wild beauty. The committee was created by Ilia Fehrer, Judy Johnson and a few friends who had organized to rally against early plans for development of Asstateague Island, which included a 25-mile highway and a number of commercial enterprises, and the Ocean Beach resort, much like Ocean City. A series of 1962 nor-easters interrupted construction, and eventually National and State Parks were established. The committee became the organization, Assateague Coastal Trust, who along with Assateague Island National Seashore and Assateague State Park sponsor the New Year’s Day walk each year.

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Cedarville State Forest First Day Hike
A Winter Hike in the Forest

Time of Event: 1 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the park's headquarters office parking lot on Bee Oak Road.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for families.
Minimum Age for Children: Age 5, all children must be accompanied by an adult. Length of Trail: Three miles on the Orange and White Trails. Hike will last approximately 1.5 hours.
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call Cedarville State Forest at 301-888-1410 to register
Additional Information: Join the Friends of Cedarville State Forest on a steady winter hike in the forest and make a fresh start in the new year.

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Cunningham Falls State Park First Day Hike

Time of Event: 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the south Beach Parking lot of the William Houck Area on Route 77 in Thurmont.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for families.
Length of Trail: The 10 a.m. hike is one half mile round trip. The 1 p.m. hike is 2 miles round trip.
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking, and a camera (optional).
RSVP: Call Cunningham Falls State Park at 301-271-3676 to register
Additional Information: Join a park ranger for one of two hikes and make a fresh start to the New Year. The 10 a.m. hike is the Lower Falls Hike, and follows a stone dust path appropriate for jogging-style strollers. The 1 p.m. hike is the Cliff Trail Hike and combines steep ascents with rock scrambling. The Cliff Trail Hike is not stroller accessible and not appropriate for adults carrying children in backpacks.

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Elk Neck State Park First Day Hike
Hike to the Turkey Point Lighthouse

Time of Event: 1 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at Turkey Point Lighthouse Trail parking lot located in Elk Neck State Park south of the Chesapeake Isle community on Rt. 272.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for families of all ages. The trail is a gravel road on hilly terrain.
Minimum age for kids: Age 5
Length of Trail: 2 miles round trip.
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking, and a camera (optional).
RSVP: Call Elk Neck State Park at 410-287-5333 to let us know you are going to join us!
Additional Information: Join the park naturalist on a gentle approximately two mile round-trip trek up to the famous Turkey Point Lighthouse, learning interesting facts about its history along the way.

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Fair Hill NRMA First Day Hike
Explore the Trail to Centre School

Time of Event: 11 a.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the Covered Bridge parking lot.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for families
Minimum age for kids: Age 5
Length of Trail: 4 miles round trip.
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call Fair Hill NRMA at 410-398-1246 to let us know you are joining the hike.
Additional Information: Set to reconnect with the natural world as you journey to and from Centre School, a one-room schoolhouse that has been restored and was last used in 1924. Dogs on a leash are welcome.

Fair Hill NRMA First Day Hike
Mountain Bike Fresh Air Express

Time of Event: 11 a.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the Covered Bridge parking lot.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate bike rides for families
Minimum age for kids: Age 8
Length of Trail: weather and experience appropriate
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear attire appropriate for the weather and bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call Fair Hill NRMA at 410-398-1246 to let us know you are joining the hike.
Additional Information: Join the Fair Hill Volunteer Bike Patrol on a guided ride to enjoy the natural beauty and start the New Year on a roll.

Fair Hill NRMA First Day Hike
Horseback Riding Fair Hill Stables

Time of Event: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the Fair Hill Stables, 65 Kennel Drive, Elkton MD
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age for kids: Age 8
Length of Trail: One hour loop
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear attire appropriate for the weather and hard sole shoes.
RSVP: Fair Hill NRMA Call Fair Hill Stables at 410-620-3883 for pricing and to make your reservation.
Additional Information: Join the Fair Hill Volunteer Bike Patrol on a guided ride to enjoy the natural beauty and start the New Year on a roll.

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Fort Frederick State Park First Day Hike
Winter Waterfowl Walk

Time of Event: 11 a.m. Hike will last approximately 1 hour
Meeting Location: Gravel parking lot on right after crossing railroad tracks on Fort Frederick Road
Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike for families of all ages
Length of Trail: Approximately 1 mile
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking, binoculars or a spotting scope.
RSVP: Call Fort Frederick State Park at 301-842-2155
Additional Information: Join a park ranger and explore three bodies of water to search for, and learn about, migratory waterfowl in Western Maryland.

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Gunpowder Falls State Park First Day Hike
Little Gunpowder Trail at Jerusalem Mill

Time of Event: 1 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the park headquarters at 2813 Jerusalem Road in Kingsville
Degree of Difficulty: Easty to moderate hike for families
Length of Trail: 2.5 mile loop
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking, and a camera (optional).
RSVP: Reservations are recommended. Call Gunpowder Falls State Park at 410-592-2897
Additional Information: Join a park ranger to explore the Little Gunpowder River corridor in scnic Harford County. The hike will start in the historic Jerusalem Village and travel through the forested stream valley and nearby fields. Friendly dogs on leashes are welcome.

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Greenbrier State Park First Day Hike
Winter Wonderland Hike

Time of Event: 1 p.m. Hike around the lake will last approximately 1.5 hours
Meeting Location: Meet at the Greenbrier Visitor Center
Degree of Difficulty: We are offering two hikes this year - an easy hike around the lake for all ages and a moderate-to-strenuous, hilly hike for more experiences hikers
Length of Trail: The lakeside hike is about 1.5 miles, which will take about 1.5 hours and the more strenuous hike is about 3 miles and will last 2-3 hours
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking, and a camera (optional).
RSVP: Reservations are recommended. Call Greenbrier State Park at 301-791-4767
Additional Information: Join Park Rangers on New Year’s Day at Greenbrier State Park for a “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” hike around the lake. Two hikes will be offered this year. Take the easy lakeside trail hike and learn about the lake, trees and wildlife, including bald eagles, white-tailed deer, squirrels, chipmunks and red-tailed hawks that make their habitat in and around the state park. More experienced hikers can take the 2-3 hour, 3-mile hike on Greenbrier trails and enjoy a steady hike through the woods in the winter.

A pet on a leash at a Maryland State Park

Herrington Manor State Park First Day Hike
Mush, Mush!

Time of Event: 1 p.m. Hike will last approximately 1 hour.
Meeting Location: Meet at the Herrington Manor Lake House
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for families of all ages
Length of Trail: Less than 1 mile
Things to Bring: A friendly, moderately well-behaved dog and a six foot leash. Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking for you and your pet, and a camera (optional).
RSVP: Call Herrington Manor State Park at 301-334-9180. Limited to 25 participants.
Additional Information: Join a park ranger for a hike around Herrington Manor's cabins, trails and lake. Find out what you need to know when you bring your four legged friend to a state park. All pets must be up to date on vaccines, leashes and under control. A doggie bag will be provided for every happy hound!

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Janes Island State Park First Day Hike

Time of Event: 1 p.m. Hike will last approximately 1 hour
Meeting Location: Turn left onto Marina Road after passing through the Park gates. Parking area will be designated by signs.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike for family members of all ages
Length of Trail: Approximately 1.1 mile
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear layered clothing and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and to bring drinking water, binoculars or a spotting scope, and camera if desired. If you bring a handheld GPS, you will be able to download your trek and view it later on Google Earth.
RSVP: Call Janes Island State Park at 410-968-1565
Additional Information: Join Rangers Beth Heller and John Somers for a leisurely hike along the White Tail Trail, down the Daugherty Creek Canal, and through a portion of the campground at Janes Island. Learn about the history of the area and of the park. Visitors will perhaps see deer, wild turkeys, or a Bald Eagle, and find out why people come from around the world to paddle our 30 miles of water trails.

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New Germany State Park First Day Hike
Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Time of event: 1 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the New Germany Lake House
Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike for families. Minimum age for children is 4.
Length of Trail: 1 mile
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and sturdy hiking shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call New Germany State Park at 301-895-5453
Additional Information: Enjoy the winter wonderland of Western Maryland. A ranger will guide hikers in search of winter songbirds and other animeals that make their home in the forest at New Germany. Dogs on a leash are welcome.

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Patapsco Valley State Park First Day Hike
Avalon Area

Time of event: 10 a.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at Lost Lake in the Avalon area
Length of Trail: 5 miles
Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike for ages 8 and older
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and sturdy hiking shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call Patapsco Valley State Park at 410-461-5006
Additional Information: New to hiking? Join park staff for a hike that will take families pas some of the prettiest terrain in Patapsco along the Grist Mill Trail.

Patapsco Valley State Park First Day Hike
Telling Patapsco's Story Through Historical Artifacts

Time of event: 1:30 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the Daniels canoe landing area
Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike for all ages
Length of Trail: 3 miles round trip
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and sturdy hiking shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call Patapsco Valley State Park at 410-461-5006
Additional Information: Join volunteer rangers as they share interesting stories of life and commerce in the Patapsco River Valley. Artifacts hidden in plain sight will stimulate your imagination and enable you to see history in a new way.

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Pocomoke River State Park First Day Hike

Time of event: 10 a.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the Shad Landing Administration Building
Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike for all ages
Length of Trail: 2 miles round trip
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and sturdy hiking shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call Pocomoke River State Park at 410-632-2566
Additional Information: Where can you experience native stands of loblolly pines, stands of mixed pine/hardwoods, and a cypress swamp all in a 2 mile trip? Right on Maryland’s Eastern Shore at Pocomoke River State Park. Join a ranger and travel down the Hudson Tract to see the Cypress swamp in winter. You may even encounter an overwintering Bald Eagle or catch a glimpse of a Wild Turkey. This is a great way to start a New Year.

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Rocks State Park First Day Hike
Wildlife and Waterfalls!

Time of Event: 1 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the Falling Branch parking lot off of Falling Branch Road in Pylesville
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for families
Length of Trail: 0.5 miles, guided one way to Kilgore Falls
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), bring water for drinking, and a camera (optional).
RSVP: Call Rocks State Park at (410) 557-7994
Additional Information: Join Park Staff to start the year off on a positive and active note, while enjoying and hopefully learning a little bit about wildlife and nature in the area. We will start the program off by going over hiking essentials and tips for children and adults. Then we will lead participants on a hike pointing out some of the nature specific to the Falling Branch area and this part of the state ending at Maryland’s second tallest vertical waterfall, Kilgore Falls! The hike will be guided one way and then participants have the option to remain at the falls on their own, continue exploring Falling Branch, or return to the parking lot with Park Staff after the hike. Be prepared to take some beautiful pictures and enjoy some amazing scenery while you soak in the New Year.

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Rocky Gap State Park First Day Hike
A Winter Water Wonderland

Time of event: 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the entrance to the Rocky Gap Casino Resort
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for all ages
Length of Trail: Approximately 1.5 miles
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and sturdy hiking shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking and a camera (optional).
RSVP: Call Rocky Gap State Park at 301-722-1480, or e-mail Julie Wieners at jwieners@dnr.state.md.us. Reservations are not needed but appreciated.
Additional Information: Join a park ranger for an out and back hike along the popular Lakeside Loop Trail to the Lake Habeeb dam and spillway. Learn about the history and importance of the park through the perspective of water; how it changed its form from stream to lake, and all the benefits it provides for wildlife and humans. This hike is open to the general public and Rocky Gap Casino Resort guests. Well behaved dogs on leashes are also welcome to join the fun! The same hike is offered at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

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Sandy Point State Park First Day Hike
Happy Healthy Holiday Hound-dog Hike

Time of Event: 10 a.m.
Meeting Location: East Beach
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for families
Length of Trail: approximately 1 mile
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather and encouraged to bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call Sandy Point State Park at 410-974-2149
Additional Information: Bring your favorite canine companion on a leash and join park staff on this easy hike. Trash free bags will be provided at the beginning of the hike, and doggie treats at the conclusion.

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Seneca State Park First Day Hike

Time of Event: 10:30 a.m.
Meeting Location: Kingfisher Overlook parking lot
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for families; not stroller friendly
Length of Trail: 2.5 miles round trip
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather and encouraged to bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call Seneca Creek State Park at 301-924-2127 to let us know you are coming and receive additional information
Additional Information: Start off the New Year with a ranger led hike! Our looped path will cover stretches of three different trails and offer scenic views of the Long Draught Branch stream, Wetlands area, and Clopper Lake. Friendly dogs on leashes are also welcome to come along.

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Smallwood State Park First Day Hike
Cocoa, Cookies and Critters

Time of Event: 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Meeting Location: Sweden Point Discovery Center, Smallwood State Park
Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike
Length of Trail: The hike is 1.2 miles round trip.
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for cold/windy weather including hats and gloves. Bring water for drinking and a camera (optional).
RSVP: Call Smallwood State Park at 301-743-7613 or email ebode@dnr.state.md.us to register (so we have enough cookies and cocoa).
Additional Information: Join a park ranger on a leisurely nature hike through the park, exploring the many habitats it has to offer. See signs of beavers, ducks, and maybe even a Bald Eagle or two. After the hike enjoy warm beverages and cookies while learning about our critters in a live animal program. Note: While the trail is stroller accessible, jogging strollers are highly recommended. Dogs are welcome in the park, but are not permitted in the Discovery Center.

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Soldiers Delight NEA First Day Hike

Time of Event: 1 p.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the visitor center
Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike for ages 8 and older
Length of Trail: 2.5 miles
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and sturdy hiking shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call Soldiers Delight NEA at 410-461-5006
Additional Information: Join a park ranger on New Year's Day and learn how to become a naturalist. Learn to identify the plant and animal life at Soliders Delight by looking for birds, mammal tracks and more. Families will also learn about the history and ecology of the serpentine barrens.

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St. Mary's River State Park First Day Hike
A New Year for Nature

Time of Event: 10 a.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the parking lot of St. Mary's River State Park
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike along the shoreline of St. Mary's Lake
Length of Trail: 2 to 2.75 miles
Things to Bring: Participants should come prepared to be outside for an extended period of time in possibly very cold and windy weather conditions. Please bring water for drinking and wear sturdy shoes. Bring a camera to remember the beautiful scenery.
RSVP: Call St. Mary's River State Park at 301-872-5688
Additional Information: Start the year off right and reconnect with nature as you journey along the lakeside with a park ranger. The forested area around the lake provides an excellent opportunity to catch a look at the local wildlife. The guided portion of the hike will be about 2 miles of the 7.5 mile loop; you can return with the ranger or continue the trail at your own pace and leisure. Dogs on a leash are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

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Tuckahoe State Park First Day Hike
Holiday Walk Up With Morning Sunshine

Time of Event: 11 a.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at the Lake Pavilion
Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike for all ages
Length of Trail: 2 miles
Things to Bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking, and a camera (optional).
RSVP: Call Tuckahoe State Park at 410-820-1668
Additional Information: Hike will begin along the lake's edge with great views of wildlife (maybe a bald eagle or two!) before heading into the woods with views of flooded woodlands and mature forests. Topics will include changing forests and wildlife habitats. The hike will last approximately 1.5 hours.