Start out the New Year with a family friendly hike, snowshoe excursion or cross country ski adventure through a Colorado State Park as part of …
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Start out the New Year with a family friendly hike, snowshoe
excursion or cross country ski adventure through a Colorado State
Park as part of America's State Parks' "First Day Hikes" nationwide
initiative. In Colorado, 11 state parks will offer
naturalist-guided hikes and other events throughout the day on
Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. First Day Hikes offer a great way to start a
healthy 2012 by getting outdoors to exercise, enjoy nature and
welcome the New Year with friends and family.
"We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national
effort to get people outdoors and into our parks," said Rick
Cables, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director. "First Day Hikes
are a great way to cure cabin fever, burn off those extra holiday
calories and start off the New Year with an invigorating walk or
hike in one of our beautiful state parks."
Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which average one to
two miles or longer depending on the state park. The hikes and
other events are free with a daily or annual Colorado State Parks
Colorado's State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for
year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer
an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures
close to home.
"Walking along frozen ponds and rivers, exploring trails through
forests, fields and prairies is a great way to kick off the New
Year," said Gary Thorson, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Assistant
Director. "Visitors can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air,
discover wildlife tracks, feel the wind and the warmth of the sun
or the coldness of the snow. Visitors can expect to be surrounded
by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, experience spectacular
views and vistas and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable
state park guide."
In Colorado, hikes will be offered at the following locations and
times. Please check the Colorado State Parks website,
www.parks.co.state.us, for additional information.
Barr Lake State Park
Contact: Michelle Seubert, 303-655-1495,
Starting time: 11 a.m.
Meeting place: Boat ramp
Description: 3-mile easy hike with opportunity to observe all types
of wildlife, including many species of birds.
Description: 3-mile moderate snowshoe hike from the boat ramp to
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.
Barr Lake State Park, located less than 25 miles from downtown
Denver, provides a sanctuary for both wildlife and humans. It is a
unique place to pause and reconnect with nature. Recreation at Barr
Lake State Park takes forms that harmonize with nature. Visitors
boat, fish, hike, bicycle, horseback ride, study nature, bird watch
and, in winter's snows, cross-country ski. Additional information
on Barr Lake State Park is available at:
Castlewood Canyon State Park
Contact: Ron Claussen and Jason Trujillo, 303-688-5242,
Starting time: 10 a.m.
Meeting place: Westside Trailhead parking lot
Description: Moderate 2-mile hike through montane scrubland,
montane forest and part of the Lucas family homestead. At the
halfway point there will be a presentation on "What New Year's Day
was like for the Lucas family in 1899."
Castlewood Canyon State Park, located southeast of Denver, offers a
beautiful natural setting with hiking, picnicking, rock climbing,
wildlife viewing, and nature study. Visitors enjoy spectacular
panoramic views that stretch more than 100 miles along the Colorado
Front Range. The park preserves 2,303 acres of the ecologically
unique Black Forest Region, including a number of rare and
endangered plant species. Additional information on Castlewood
Canyon State Park is available at:
Chatfield State Park
Contact: Susan Permut, 303-791-7275,
Time: 10 a.m. - noon
Meeting place: Gravel Ponds parking lot
Description: This easy 3 mile "Winter Wonderland Hike" will start
the Gravel Ponds and go south to the Audubon Discovery
Time: noon-2 p.m.
Meeting place: Platte River parking lot
Description: Explore the Platte River valley and learn about
plants. This 2-to-3-mile moderate "Winter Weeds Hike" will go south
along the Platte River and then loop back on higher ground.
Chatfield State Park offers many outdoor recreational activities
and is conveniently located on the southwest side of the Denver
metropolitan area with a scenic foothills background and a
1,243-acre lake. Chatfield is a one of the state's full service
outdoor recreation areas, offering many unique recreational
pursuits, including an off-leash dog exercise area, horseback
riding, scuba instruction, hot air ballooning, and remote control
model airplane flying. Additional information on Chatfield State
Park is available at: www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/Chatfield.
Cherry Creek State Park
Contact: Mike Zieker and John Carson. 303-690-690-1166,
Time: 8 a.m. - noon
Meeting place: East Boat ramp
Description: Come to Cherry Creek State Park to see and learn about
birds of prey. This easy 1.5-mile hike will end at the campground
amphitheater for an interactive program about birds and a book
signing by Steve Kennedy, the group leader/volunteer). T here will
be complementary hot beverages and 20% discounts on merchandise at
the General Store.
A favorite metropolitan area playground, Cherry Creek State Park
offers a multitude of recreation opportunities anchored around an
880-acre lake. Open year-round, Cherry Creek is comprised of a
natural prairie environment of gentle, rolling hills and complete
outdoor recreation facilities, including an off-leash dog exercise
area, group picnic sites and facilities for special events, all in
the midst of a busy urban area. Additional information on Cherry
Creek State Park is available at:
Cheyenne Mountain State Park
Contact: Sean O'Donnell, 719-576-2016,
Time: 9 a.m. to - 11 a.m.
Meeting place: Cheyenne Mountain Visitor Center
Description: Start the New Year with a brisk 3- mile moderate hike.
You will enjoy great views, and visit majestic trees and rock
gardens along the way.
Colorado's newest state park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park is
located just south of Colorado Springs. The 1,680-acre park lies
beneath the eastern flank of the Cheyenne Mountain and borders the
plains of Colorado, offering a stunning transition from plains to
peaks. Foremost among the park's offerings is the trail system
consisting of 20 miles of hiking and biking. These pathways allow
visitors ample opportunities to explore the park's natural beauty
year-round. Additional information on Cheyenne Mountain State Park
is available at: www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/CheyenneMountain.
Eldorado Canyon State Park
Contact: Ben Pedrett, 303-494-3943, email@example.com
Time: 11 a.m. - noon
Meeting place: Eldorado Canyon Visitor Center
Description: This moderate 2-mile hike of the Rattlesnake Gulch
Trail travels past spectacular views of the canyon and the eastern
plains to the remains of historic Crags hotel. If the trail is icy,
we'll hike a portion of the Eldorado Canyon Trail instead.
Eldorado Canyon State Park is located west of the historic resort
town of Eldorado Springs. A world-renowned technical rock climbing
area, the canyon also offers fishing, hiking, picnicking and a
quiet retreat from the city. The park also features an
award-winning "Junior Ranger" program during the summer months and
outstanding opportunities for photography during all seasons.
Additional information on Eldorado Canyon State Park is available
Eleven Mile State Park
Contact: Mark Young, 719-748-3401,
Time: 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Meeting place: Coyote Ridge trailhead parking lot
Description: In this moderate 1.25-mile hike, we will explore the
winter landscape, discuss the winter survival strategies used by
the park's plants and wildlife, and learn a little about the first
people of Colorado, the Utes.
Eleven Mile State Park is in South Park, an expansive high-altitude
grassland region of central Colorado, located about 50 miles to the
west of Colorado Springs. The surrounding mountains, including
Pikes Peak, the Tarryall Range and the snowy peaks of the
Continental Divide, compliment Eleven Mile's own scenic reservoir,
short grass prairie and rocky outcroppings. This remarkable setting
is home to many recreational opportunities including camping,
biking, boating, fishing and hiking and many other exciting outdoor
activities. Additional information on Eleven Mile State Park is
available at http://www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/ElevenMile.
Lory State Park
Contact: Larry Butterfield, 970-493-1623,
Meeting place: Arthur's Rock parking lot
Description: Celebrate the beginning of the year at Lory State Park
with a fun and social 4.6-mile run on the valley trails. The run
will start out going north on West Valley, then cross the Main Park
road and continue south on East Valley Trail, finally running the
South Valley loop and back to the parking lot. If we have a good
snow storm we will have a 2.7-mile snowshoe tromp instead on South
Description: Join us for a moderate 3.4-mile hike up to Arthur's
Rock. If we have a good snow storm, we will have a 2.7-mile
snowshoe tromp instead on South Valley Trail. After the hike,
everyone is welcome to stop by the Lory State Park Visitor Center
for some hot cider or tea.
Lory State Park, located in beautiful Bellvue north of Fort
Collins, offers visitors a variety of rugged terrain and stunning
vistas from the northern Colorado Front Range. The park covers
almost 2,600 acres and features 26 miles of trails that lead
through forest, meadows and rock-outcroppings, offering visitors
great terrain for mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing,
bouldering, and horseback riding. Additional information on Lory
State Park is available at: www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/Lory.
Mueller State Park
Contact: Susie Yost, 719-687-2366, Mueller.firstname.lastname@example.org
Starting time: 2 p.m.
Meeting place: Outlook Ridge Trailhead
Description: Enjoy the backcountry and great opportunities for
wildlife watching. This easy 2-mile hike winds through a snowy
conifer and aspen forest to a scenic rocky overlook. The naturalist
will point out fun facts about the wildlife in the park and how
they cope with winter.
Mueller State Park, located about 45 minutes west of Colorado
Springs, offers 55 miles of trails and a 5,000-acre playground for
the hiker, mountain biker, wildlife watcher and winter sports
enthusiast. A popular watchable wildlife area, Mueller is home to
elk, black bear, hawks, and mule deer. Some of the many campsites
throughout the park are open during the winter and the park has
cabins for rent year-round. Additional information on Mueller State
Park is available at: www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/Mueller.
Roxborough State Park
Contact: Angel Tobin, 303-973-3959,
Time: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Meeting place: Roxborough's Visitor Center
Description: Join naturalist Peter Laux for a strenuous 6.4-mile
(roundtrip) hike to Carpenter Peak, at 7,175' the highest point on
the Roxborough's trail system. Enjoy a panoramic view of the
greater Denver area while eating lunch on the peak. Bring water,
food, and clothing appropriate for the weather. Minimum age:
Starting time: Noon
Description: Come celebrate the New Year with an easy 2.2-mile hike
to explore the Fountain Valley Trail with naturalist Sue Schleuder.
Minimum age: 12.
Roxborough State Park, located less than an hour southwest of
Denver, is a Colorado Natural Area and a National Natural Landmark.
The park was established to protect the area's unparalleled scenery
and resource values while providing opportunities for hiking and
learning about Colorado's natural heritage. Roxborough's
spectacular geologic setting supports a unique mixture of prairie
and mountain species. It is a place of beauty, ecological
diversity, and serenity. Additional information on Roxborough State
Park is available at: www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/Roxborough.
Stagecoach State Park
Contact: Kimi Lehman, 970-736-2436,
Time: 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Meeting place: Keystone day use area
Description: This moderate 2-to-3-mile snowshoe hike will cover the
winter world that is underground, snow layers and temperature.
Bring your own snowshoes, or you can rent those for free at the
park. A light snack will be provided.
Located in the verdant Yampa Valley of northwest Colorado,
Stagecoach State Park offers visitors a wonderful area to enjoy
Colorado's outdoors. Centered on an 829-acre reservoir with a
full-service marina, Stagecoach State Park offers amazing fishing
both on the reservoir and in the Yampa River tailwaters. The
convenience of additional recreation opportunities and the family
atmosphere makes Stagecoach State Park a wonderful vacation
destination. Additional information on Stagecoach State Park is
available at: www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/Stagecoach.
"Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to
relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit," said Phil McNelly,
National Association of State Park Directors' (NASPD) Executive
Director. "We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will
become part of an individual's or family's regular exercise
First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills
Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was
launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and
year round recreation at state parks. Many other states have
offered outdoor recreation programs on New Year's Day, however,
this is the first time all 50 state park systems have joined
together to sponsor First Day Hikes.
"Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle for the
whole family," said Ruth Coleman, president of the National
Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). Whether you're staying
close to home or traveling, join us at one of America's State Parks
on New Year's Day."
America's State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation
in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among
children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and
other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that
promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity
and stewardship of our shared resources.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife gets everyone outdoors! Attracting more
than 12 million visitors per year, Colorado's 42 State Parks are a
vital cornerstone of Colorado's economy and quality of life.
Colorado State Parks encompass 224,447 land and water acres,
offering some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the
state. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a leader in providing
opportunities for outdoor recreation, protecting the state's
favorite landscapes, teaching generations about nature and
partnering with communities. Colorado State Parks also manage more
than 4,300 campsites, and 63 cabins and yurts. For more information
on Colorado State Parks or to purchase an annual pass online, visit
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