Celebrate New Year’s Day With First Day Hikes at Virginia State Parks

by | Dec 31, 2015 | Events

By Susan Larson and Virginia State Parks.

All 36 Virginia State Parks are hosting their annual First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day, Friday, Jan. 1 2016. Can’t make the guided hike? You can create your own First Day Hike experience in the park. Parking fees are waived for the day.

The first 50 guests in each state park on January 1 will receive a special commemorative 80th anniversary pin.

In addition, VSP is hosting a First Day Hikes Photo Contest and First Day Hikes Team Competition. See this webpage for details: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/blog/first-day-hikes-2016

Here’s a look at what’s planned at the five state parks closest to Fredericksburg.

Caledon State Park, 11617 Caledon Road, King George Va. 22485
Possum Present Hunt 1 – 2 p.m. The Legendary Christmas Opossum has come again and hidden ornaments around the Fern Hollow Trail. Take an easy one mile hike and help us find them and earn a holiday reward. Before our journey we will tell the story of the Christmas Opossum and explain the rules of the search. There will be hot chocolate and a warm fire after the search. Contact the park to register. Location – Picnic Shelter Phone – (540) 663-3861

Lake Anna State Park, 6800 Lawyers Road, Spotsylvania Va. 22551
First Day Hike 2 – 3:30 p.m. Mill Pond Trail: Join our “Rockin’ Ranger” as we enjoy a moderate hike to a hidden treasure along a secluded cove. The program will consist of a ride in the park’s van to the start of the trail; just over a 2 mile round trip hike highlighting our geological diversity and animal life; and a break at the end of the trail to observe the magnificent scenery on Pigeon Run. Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring water, binoculars and maybe a camera. Limit 25, please pre-register. To pre-register please call the Visitor Center and leave a message with your name, contact phone number and number in your group at (540) 854-6245 or contact [email protected] Location – Park Office Phone – 540-854-6245

Leesylvania State Park, 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive, Woodbridge Va. 22191
First Day Hike: Complete History of the Leesylvania State Park 1 – 2:30 p.m. Bring in the New Year with a guided hike by Brendon Hanafin. In 2001 Brendon joined Prince William County as the Historic Preservation Manager. In 2005 his group became the Historic Preservation Division which manages 16 properties and 553 acres of preserved historic and natural sites. You will start at the Visitor Center for a quick tour of the history museum and viewing of the Leesylvania program. Then walk down the Potomac Trail to Freestone Point, and then through Lee’s Woods Trail and back to the Visitor Center. This 90 minute, 2 mile hike will start the year on the right foot. Please R.S.V.P. by December 31st to [email protected] or call 703-583-6904. Pets are welcome to join, but the trail is not accessible for strollers.

Mason Neck State Park, 7301 High Point Road, Lorton Va. 22079
First Day Hikes: Outdoor Challenge 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Get your motor running! Start the year off with a invigorating hike in a beautiful location. Mason Neck State Park has 9 trails that are from .25 miles to 3.0 miles in length. Each trail has a rating but none are more than moderate in difficulty. All feature the opportunity to see some wildlife and winter wonderment. Four guided hikes are offered. 10 a.m. is a 3.5 mile hike of moderate difficulty but at an easy pace. 12 p.m. will feature, new this year, a guided “bike hike” out and back on the High Point Multi-Use Trail that will cover the first 1.5 miles (and 1.5 miles back) of the trail and include stops for interesting activities. 1 p.m. will feature a fast-paced, heart pumping hike incorporating several trails that will cover 5 miles. 3 p.m. is a leisurely stroll on the Bay View Trail covering 1.0 miles and at an easy pace. Of course you are always welcome to hike on your own during our regular hours. Mason Neck is a dog friendly park! You must have your four legged friend on a leash at all times. Parking fees are waived for the day. Location – Visitor Center Phone – 703-339-2380

Westmoreland State Park, 1650 State Park Road, Montross, Va. 22520
First Day Hike 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Spend the morning looking for 8 million year old fossils and evidence of the first inhabitants along the Potomac River. Meet park staff to take a short hike down the meandering Big Meadows Trail through old growth hardwood forests, final destination, the tidal shores of Fossil Beach. Please note, while this hike is only a little over 1 mile it is very steep and can be strenuous. Please dress for the weather and hiking along the trail and sandy beach. To make your adventure more enjoyable, please bring water and something to carry your found treasures. Location – Visitor Center. Phone – 804-493-8821

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