NC state parks offer New Year’s Day hikes

From staff reportsDecember 29, 2013 

— People who want to start the year off on the right foot might consider taking a New Year’s Day hike.

Every North Carolina state park and recreation area will offer a “First Day Hike,” part of a growing tradition among state parks nationwide. There are more than 40 scheduled hikes statewide, including a scavenger hunt for kids at the Falls Lake Recreation Area and the first First Day Hike at the new Carvers Creek State Park, which opened in September in Cumberland County.

At Eno River State Park, home of the granddaddy of New Year’s Day hikes, people will have options of hikes of two miles or four to five miles.

To find a hike, go to the state parks website, ncparks.gov/Education/main.php. Bring water and snacks, if desired, and dress accordingly.

William B. Umstead State Park

A ranger-led hike on the 5.8-mile Company Mill Trail. Note: the trail is rocky in places and not suitable for strollers.

Start time: 10 a.m.

Start location: Reedy Creek Large Shelter

Jordan Lake Recreation Area

A ranger-led hike on the 2.7-mile blue loop trail, a challenging trail with several steep hills. Hikers will enjoy sweeping views of the lake, mature hardwood forests and groves of mountain laurel.

Start time: 10 a.m.

Start location: New Hope Overlook trail head

Information: Contact Ranger Steve McMurray at 919-362-0586 ext 219 or by email at steve.mcmurray@ncparks.gov

Eno River State Park

Two- or four- to five-mile hikes in the Fews Ford Access area of the park, at the end of Cole Mill Road.

Start time: 2 p.m.

Start location: Fews Ford Access

Information: Contact the Eno River Association office at 919-620-9099 or email at association@enoriver.org

Falls Lake Recreation Area

Ranger-led scavenger hunt and hike on the Falls Lake Trail. Scavenger hunt is designed for ages 6 to 12, but all ages are encouraged to participate. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Scavenger hunt is limited to the first 25 children to sign up.

Start time: 2 p.m.

Start location: Shinleaf, off New Light Road.

Reservations: Required. Call the park office at 919-676-1027 to sign up.

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