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First Day Hike- Various Locations

January 1 @ 6:00 am - 8:30 pm


A First Day Hike is a great way to enter in the new year. Engage your family in enjoying the outdoors and our natural resources together.

  • Celebrate the first day of 2022 with the WI DNR in the snow! They will be trekking along the south trails to explore the forest and prairies on the first day of the year. Meet naturalists at the South Trails Parking Lot and please bring your own hiking gear.
      • Meet at the MacKenzie Center, 25 miles north of Madison
      • From 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
  • Celebrate the first day of 2022 at the Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The naturalist will lead a 2 mile hike on the green trail and Ice Age Trail members will lead a 3 mile trek on the orange loop. You can enjoy a big bonfire at the amphitheater after your hike.
      • Meet at 3544 Kettle Moraine Road in Hartford, WI
      • From Noon to 2:00 pm
      • See the FB event HERE
  • This year, the DNR has self-guided First Day Hikes in lieu of a group hike.
      • Read the full press release here. An excerpt:

 Celebrate the new year by stepping into the outdoors with a First Day Hike. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will join in the annual adventure sponsored by America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day for the 11th year in a row.

Each year Wisconsinites join the thousands of people across the nation to kick off the new year by hiking at state parks, forests or trails on New Year’s Day. These hikes provide a way for individuals and families to welcome the coming year in the outdoors, exercising and connecting with nature. For many it has become a cherished tradition.

“Getting active outdoors through hiking or other forms of winter recreation is a great way to connect with family and friends in a healthy way. Start the year out right with a hike at a Wisconsin state park,” said Steve Schmelzer, DNR Park and Recreation Management Program Bureau Director.

With over 22 million visitors, Wisconsin state parks, forests and trails feature some of the Midwest’s best scenery. The change in seasons doesn’t mean an end to exploring the outdoors. Wisconsin’s beautiful state parks, forests and trails offer opportunities to get outdoors – even in winter.

Guided hikes will be available at several properties across the state including Newport, Roche-a-Cri, Buckhorn, Governor Thompson, Amnicon Falls and Mirror Lake state parks as well as at Richard Bong State Recreation Area and the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center.

Participants are also welcome to create their own first day hikes by exploring Wisconsin’s state parks open year-round, each offering a variety of scenic winter hiking opportunities to explore. Visit the DNR’s Find A Park webpage to locate a park near you.

First day hike participants are invited to share their adventures using the hashtags #OutWiGo and #FirstDayHike on Instagram.

Additional opportunities to hike by moonlight or candlelight trails will be held throughout the winter. For a complete listing of first day hikes and candlelight events, check out the DNR events calendar here.

Properties may have restroom facilities and warming shelters available during these events. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, visitors are encouraged to practice social distancing and wear a face covering if social distancing cannot be followed.

vehicle admission sticker is required to visit state park system properties. Stickers can be purchased online, at individual properties via self-registration stations, electronic kiosks or drive-up window service (select properties only).

Find more information about Wisconsin state parks, locate a park near you or find a map to plan your First Day Hike here.

  • Waukesha County Parks Department invites all to spend January 1 outdoors taking a hike at one of their county parks. This is also a self-guided hike with no formal event. Find the parks for hiking HERE.

Related Posts:

January in Lake Country

New Year’s Guide to Lake Country and Waukesha County


January 1
6:00 am - 8:30 pm
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