Start 2015 out right with a First Day Hike

If looking to improve your health and happiness in the coming year, there’s no better way to do that than getting outdoors more often. At least, that’s my opinion. To start 2015 out right, consider attending one of the many First Day Hikes planned for Jan. 1 at various locations throughout Maine.

Wolfes Neck State Park in Freeport, Maine, contains one of the five sites included in the Gulf of Maine Council 25th anniversary geocache tour in 2014.

Wolfes Neck State Park in Freeport, Maine, is one of the many places hosting a First Day Hike for 2015.

As a park of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands will host free, guided First Day Hikes at five Maine state parks on New Year’s Day.

These easy-moderate group hikes are a great way to jumpstart any fitness-related New Years resolutions, and they’re also a good way to get to know a new trail, hiking group or organization.

Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which will average one to two miles or longer, depending on the park

“On nearly every New Year’s resolution list is the goal of better physical fitness,” said Walt Whitcomb, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, in a recent press release. “Give electronics a little time off and be healthier by enjoying our state parks.”

“First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks,” said Tom Morrison, Acting Director of the Bureau of Parks and Lands, in a recent press release.

Maine State Parks First Day Hikes will take place at the following locations and times:

  • Photo by Aislinn Sarnacki Aislinn Sarnacki and Derek Runnells meet up to discuss the trail on Great Pond Mountain in Orland on Jan. 6, 2012.

    Photo by Aislinn Sarnacki

    Lily Bay State Park, Beaver Cove: Starting at12 noon, this will be a leisurely, 2.5-mile, ranger-led hike along the shore of Moosehead Lake to investigate the wonders of the season. Wear warm clothes, sturdy shoes or boots and bring your own snacks. Meet at the entry booth parking lot. For information, call 695-2700.

  • Popham Beach State Park, Phippsburg: Starting at 1 p.m., this will be an easy 1-mile hike on the Fox Island tombolo investigating tidal pools. Wear warm clothes and sturdy footwear. Meet at the west side parking lot. For information, call 389-1335.
  • Range Ponds State Park, Poland: Starting at 12:30 p.m., this will be an easy, 1.5-mile, ranger-led hike on the interpretive trail and along the beach; just one short hill. Hikers are encouraged to bring warm clothes, boots or snowshoes if the snow is deep. Meet at flagpole in front of bathroom buildings. For information, call 998-4104.
  • Sebago Lake State Park, Casco: Starting at 10:30 a.m., this will be a leisurely 1.5-mile woodlands hike to explore the wonders of the season. Snacks will be provided. Hikers should wear warm clothes and sturdy footwear. Snowshoes are a good idea if people have them. Meet at the day-use area boat launch. For information, call 693-6231.
  • Wolfes Neck State Park

    Wolfe’s Neck State Park

    Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, Freeport: Starting at 10 a.m., this will be a leisurely 0.3-mile guided walk to enjoy winter in the woods and learn how plants and animals survive the cold winter months. The program length is about 1 hour in length. Wear warm clothes and sturdy footwear. Meet at the picnic shelter by the second parking lot. Dogs are not suitable for this hike. For information, call 865-4465.

Last winter, nearly 4,000 people participated in the Maine State Parks Take it Outside and Winter Family Fun Days programs, starting with the First Day Hikes, Whitcomb said.

Maine’s 48 state parks and historic sites offer the public free and low-cost recreational opportunities year round. Keep in mind the even though many state parks aren’t staffed during the winter, they’re still open for the public to enjoy from 9 a.m. to sunset. Also this season, consider attending the state parks’ Winter Family Fun Days and renting equipment from the Ski & Snowshoe Trailer.

To see complete event listings at Maine state parks, visit and

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at