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First Day Hikes at Colorado State Parks

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Castlewood Canyon

Castlewood Canyon is one of the state parks that will host a First Day Hike on Jan. 1, 2013.

Photo © Nina Snyder licensed to About.com

First Day Hikes on Jan. 1, 2013:

Start off the New Year on the right foot with a free guided hike at one of Colorado's state parks. On Jan. 1, 2013, state parks will offer hikes led by rangers at 15 state parks, including several parks in the Denver metro area. While the hikes are free, all visitors must purchase a daily or annual state parks pass to attend.

"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, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in a statement. "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."

First Day Hikes started more than two decades ago in Milton, Mass., at the Blue Hills Reservation. The program spread across the country, and last year marked the first time all 50 states participated in the program to jump start that New Year's resolution for physical fitness.

"Last year, we hosted over 14,000 people who hiked over 30,000 miles in state parks across the country when we launched America’s State Parks First Day Hikes 2012," said Priscilla Geigis, President of the National Association of State Park Directors, in a statement. "To start 2013, we’re inviting kids and adults to get their hearts pumping and experience the beauty of state parks at one of over 400 hikes nationwide."

According to Jennifer Churchill, public information officer for Colorado State Parks, the Centennial State launched First Day Hikes in 2011 at 12 parks. Last year, around 200 Colorado hikers participated in the program. Listed below are the six Colorado state parks in the Denver area.

Barr Lake State Park:

11 a.m. Hike: Meet at Nature Center
The hike on an easy, three-mile trail allows for bird watching. No dogs allowed.

11 a.m. Hike : Meet at Boat Ramp
Bring your own snowshoes for a three-mile hike to the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.
Barr Lake State Park

Castlewood Canyon State Park:

10 a.m. Hike: Meet at Falls Parking Lot
A moderate three-mile hike will conclude around noon. Hiking enthusiasts can keep going for an extended hike that will conclude around 2 p.m. Bring your own lunch if you are embarking on the extended hike.
Castlewood Canyon State Park

Chatfield State Park:

9 a.m. Hike: Meet at Gravel Ponds Parking Area
An easy hike of two to three miles explores the park. No children under six years old allowed. Dogs on a leash are allowed. ·

11 a.m. Hike: Meet at South Platte Parking Area
An easy hike of 2 1/2 miles takes hikers along the reservoir. Dogs on a leash are allowed.
Chatfield State Park

Cherry Creek State Park:

11 a.m. Hike: Meet at the Campground Registration Building
An easy two-mile hike offers wildlife viewing -- and hot chocolate at trail's end. Not recommended for children under five years old. Dogs on a leash are allowed.
Cherry Creek State Park

Golden Gate Canyon State Park:

10 a.m. Hike: Meet at the Aspen Meadow Campground Entrance Lot
A strenuous three-mile hike will include steep hills, and snowshoes may be recommended, depending on the weather. No children under 12 years of age.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Roxborough State Park:

9 a.m. Hike: Meet at the Visitor Center
A hike for advanced hikers will travel more than six miles, and end atop the 7,175-foot elevation Carpenter Peak. No dogs allowed. Bring your lunch.

10 a.m. Hike: Meet at the Visitor Center
A three-mile hike rated as moderate to difficult will travel along the South Rim Trail of the park.
Roxborough State Park

If sleeping in on New Year's Day is more your cup of tea, visit the Top 5 Hikes Near Denver or Cherry Creek State Park Photos for hikes anytime of the year.

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