First Day Hikes are a traditional way to begin the New Year with fresh air, exercise and rejuvenation in nature. Grab the kids, and maybe your pup (some parks allow leashed dogs but check before you go) and put on your boots, gloves and a jacket and hit the trails! Bring water, snacks and binoculars. Registration may be required even though the hikes are free. All hikes are currently scheduled for Jan. 1 but they may be postponed or canceled due to weather, so double check before you head out.

Discover Double Trouble First Day Jaunt
Double Trouble State Park, restroom area, 581 Pinewald Keswick Rd., Bayville
10 – 11:30 am
Open to kids age 10 and older accompanied by an adult.
The leisurely walk is about 1.5 miles along the Mill Pond Trail. You’ll love the views of the waters of Cedar Creek. You’ll finish the morning walk through the historic village.

First Day Dog Hike
Belleplain State Forest Main Office, Parking Lot, 1 Henkinsifkin Rd., Woodbine
9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Open to children age 10 and older with an adult.
Join Megan and her furry friends for a hike through the forests of Cape May County. Afterward, relax with a cup of tea or hot cocoa and some homemade treats (for you and your dog!) around a campfire.

First Day Hike at Bass River
Bass River State Forest, 762 Stage Rd., Bass River Twp.
10 am – 12 pm
Open to all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult.
Bass River is New Jersey’s first state forest! Snap pictures along Lake Absegami and visit the remains of a historic Civilian Conservation Corps camp. After, you’ll enjoy hot chocolate or tea inside the Bass River exhibit space. You can end your afternoon with a climb to the top of the Bass River fire tower, if weather permits.

First Day Hike to Caven Point
Liberty State Park Office, 200 Morris Pesin Dr., Jersey City
12 – 2 pm
All ages welcome but kids must have an adult with them at all times.
This is a 3-mile, leisurely hike to Caven Point Beach. Explore the urban and natural shoreline of the Upper NY Bay, with unique views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Skyline.

First Day Education Hike
Belleplain State Forest, Lake Nummy Recreation Area Parking Lot, Woodbine
10 am – 1 pm
Open to kids age 10 and older with an adult.
State Park Naturalist Matthew Pelligrine will lead your group on a leisurely hike along the East Creek Trail. He’ll stop you along the way to point out some natural points of interest.

First Day Hike at IBSP
Island Beach State Park, Swimming Area 1, Seaside Park
1:30 – 3 pm
All ages welcome.
This scenic walk along the beach is approximately 1 mile out and back, but you can turn back at anytime. A bonfire and s’mores will follow, weather permitting.

First Day Hike at NJBG
New Jersey State Botanical Garden, Morris Road, Ringwood
1 – 2:30 pm
All ages.
Take a self-guided, family-friendly hike in the park woodlands surrounding the botanical garden. Weather permitting, you can easily climb to the Mt. Defiance overlook on the Halifax trail and return, or choose an alternate hike without a climb.

2023 First Day Hike at Cheesequake State Park
Cheesequake State Park Nature Center, 300 Gordon Rd., Old Bridge
1 pm
Ages 8 and up.
A Naturalist will lead you along the route. You’ll learn about the history and environmental highlights of the park.

First of the Year Nature Walk
Parvin State Park Office, 701 Almond Rd., Pittsgrove
11 am – 1 pm
All ages welcome.
Reset and recharge by walking along the Green Trail.

High Point First Day Challenge Hike
Appalachian Trail parking lot, High Point State Park, Montague
10 am
Children 12 and up can hike with an adult.
The first, more rugged half of the hike will be on the Appalachian Trail. The return will be on the easier Iris Trail, a well-graded, old wagon road.

New Year’s Day Climb
Twin Lights Historic Site, 2 Light House Rd., Highlands
10 am – 3:30 pm
Open to all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult.
Hike to the top of the North Tower where there will be views all around. Museum exhibits will be open, as well as the gift shop.

Old Dutch New Year
Wallace House and Dutch Parsonage Historic Sites, Parking Lot, 71 Somerset St., Somerville
2 – 3:30 pm
Open to all ages
This afternoon walk follows the Peters Brook Greenway and Main Street with stops to learn about the history of the buildings. You’ll get to leave Washington’s Headquarters flags at two stone markers, recalling Gen. George Washington’s passage through the area in January 1777 as part of the Revolutionary War. After the walk you’ll return back to the Old Dutch Parsonage for a brief open house as the sun sets.

Paulinskill Valley Trail Committee 38th Annual New Year’s Day Hike
Paulinskill Valley Rail Trail, 1 Footbridge Lane, Blairstown
10 am – 1 pm
Children welcome if accompanied by an adult.
The trail is cinder-based which provides easy, level walking.

Perrine Hill and Sutfin Farm Hiking Tour
Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor Center, 20 Business Rte. 33, Manalapan
11 am – 1 pm
Kids age 10 and up can come as long as they are cared for by a parent or guardian.
Hike through the fields where Gen. George Washington commanded the Continental Army and Molly Pitcher fought during the Battle of Monmouth in the Revolutionary War. This guided hike will let you enjoy natural beauty and history.

Princeton Nursery Lands First Day Hike
D&R Canal/Mapleton Preserve, Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Office, 145 Mapleton Rd., Princeton
12 – 2 pm
Children accompanied by an adult are welcome to join.
This easy 1.5-mile loop hike through the Mapleton Preserve will finish up with hot cocoa.

Starting 2023 On The Right Foot
D&R Canal State Park Towpath Trail, Scenic Overlook, access from I-295, Hamilton Twp.
12 – 2 pm
Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult.
Walk along the D&R Canal’s southernmost towpath, going through the Abbott Marshlands and exploring Crosswicks Creek.