Start the New Year with outdoor hike

Press release
Posted 12/14/11

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 the New Year with outdoor hike


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 Pass.

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,, for additional information.

Barr Lake State Park

Contact: Michelle Seubert, 303-655-1495,

Hike #1

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.

Hike #2

Starting time: 11 a.m.

Meeting place: Boat ramp

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,

Hike #1

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 Center.

Hike #2

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:

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,,us

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:

Eldorado Canyon State Park

Contact: Ben Pedrett, 303-494-3943,

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 at:

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

Lory State Park

Contact: Larry Butterfield, 970-493-1623,

Hike #1

Starting time: 11 a.m.

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 Valley Trail.

Hike #2

Starting time: 11 a.m.

Meeting place: Arthur's Rock parking lot

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:

Mueller State Park

Contact: Susie Yost, 719-687-2366,

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:

Roxborough State Park

Contact: Angel Tobin, 303-973-3959,

Hike #1

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: 16.

Hike #2

Starting time: Noon

Meeting place: Roxborough's Visitor Center

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:

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:

"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 routine."

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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