Celebrate the New Year with First Day Hikes in the parks of Maryland, Virginia


Celebrate the New Year – and burn off those extra holiday calories – with a First Day Hike. Events are held throughout Delmarva.

Maryland State Parks are offering first weekend hiking opportunities statewide December 31, 2022 through January 31, 2022. 2, 2023.

First Day Hikes are part of a statewide initiative by America’s State Parks that encourages all 50 states to offer outdoor hiking opportunities on the first day of the New Year.

Two types of hikes are available for 2023:

  • Ranger-led hikes: These hikes are led by a park ranger, have specific start times, and many require advance booking.
  • Self-Guided Hikes: These hikes are offered throughout the weekend on well-marked trails. Park staff and volunteers may be available to get you started, but will not accompany you on the hike itself.

First Day Hike I Hiked stickers are available at select locations while supplies last.

Assateague State Park

Type: Ranger-led hike

Registration: Not required

When: January 1, 2023, 10 a.m

Meet at Assateague State Park Day-Use Area

Distance: about 2 miles

Take a guided beach walk and clean up with the Assateague Coastkeeper and staff at the Assateague Coastal Trust. As you explore, keep an eye out for winter waterfowl, birds of prey, sika deer, and wild horses. Dress appropriately for the weather and bring work gloves. From 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., visit the Day-Use Boardwalk to chat with park staff around the fireplace, share stories, ask questions, and socialize. Hot chocolate is provided by the Assateague Coastal Trust.

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More: Leashed pets are welcome in the state park, not suitable for strollers/wheelchairs, portable restrooms are available in the day lot. Daily use fees of $5 per vehicle apply.

Rackliffe Trail – Assateague Island

Type: Self-Guided Walking Tour

When: 8 a.m. to sunset January 1, 2023

Distance: 1 mile

Address: 11800 Marschblickgasse, Berlin

Assateague has teamed up with Just Walk Berlin to offer a Day 1 Scavenger Hunt. As you hike the Rackliffe Trail, just past the Assateague National Park Visitor Center, keep an eye out for ornate quahog shells along the trail. Please only take one per family to remember your first day of hiking in Assateague.

More: Pets on a lead are welcome, not suitable for strollers/wheelchairs, portable toilets are available in the marina.

Pocomoke River State Park

Type: Self-Guided Walking Tour

Distance: about 2 miles

Address: 3461 Worcester Highway, Snow Hill

Start at the camp shop and follow the puzzles that take you past different park locations. Finally, Riddles takes you along the trail system from Pocomoke to a scenic spot where you will receive your trail sticker for the first day.

More: Leashed pets are welcome. No daily usage fees.

Jane’s Island State Park

Type: Self-Guided Walking Tour – White Tail Trail

Distance: 1 mile

This is a self-guided first day hike along Janes Island State Park’s White Tail Trail. This 1.6 km easy loop hike takes you through a mature loblolly pine forest, to a mixed deciduous forest and then along the waterfront of the Daugherty Creek Canal. The trailhead for the White-Tail Trail is directly across from the check-in RV lot. You can collect your First Day Hike sticker at the trailhead.

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More: Parking on Jane’s Island is free. Pets on a leash are welcome. Toilets are available on site. The White Tail Trail is stroller friendly.

Type: Ranger-led walk – birding for beginners at Irish Grove

Registration: Not required

When: 9-11 a.m. December 31, 2022

Meeting point: RV check-in lot, then RV to Irish Grove

Distance: 2 miles

Address: 26280 Alfred J. Lawson Drive, Crisfield

In 2023, start trying a new hobby: bird watching. Join Janes Island State Park rangers and volunteers on an easy 2-mile hike that teaches you the basics of birding. This hike takes place in Irish Grove, a 2,300-acre conservation area on Pocomoke Sound owned by the Maryland Ornithological Society. Meet at the RV check-in lot on Janes Island, then drive the RV to Irish Grove (approx 10 minute drive).

More: Parking is free on Janes Island and Irish Grove. Pets on a leash are welcome. Restrooms are available on Janes Island and outbuildings in Irish Grove. Irish Grove is stroller friendly. Binoculars are recommended, but a limited number of binoculars are available to borrow.

Type: First Day Bike – ranger-led hike

Registration: Not required

When: January 1, 2023, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m

Meeting point: check-in RV parking lot

Distance: 5 miles

Address: 26280 Alfred J. Lawson Drive, Crisfield

Kick off 2023 with the right pedal and join Janes Island State Park rangers and volunteers for a guided bike tour of Crisfield. This approximately 5-mile bike ride begins at Janes Island State Park, travels through the park, out onto Canal Drive and Jacksonville Road to the Terrapin Run Recreational Trail along Route 413 to Crisfield and then back to Janes Island State Park.

More: Parking on Jane’s Island is free. Toilets are available on site. Participants are encouraged to bring their own bikes, helmets and reflective clothing. A limited number of bikes are available for rent at $5 per bike.

Kippopeke State Park

Type: leadership

When: January 1, 2023, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m

Meeting point: picnic hut 1

Distance: Approximately 1 mile

Address: 3540 Kitopeke Drive, Cape Charles

Ring in the New Year by joining the Friends of Kiptopeke State Park and a Park Ranger for the 2023 First Day Hike. Learn about the history of the park and the animals that call it home on this guided walking tour. After the hike, meet the rangers for a hot chocolate. Bring your binoculars and cameras.

More: Standard parking or entry fees apply. Children are welcome.


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