First Day Hikes abound!
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: December 21, 2018

Make a New Year’s resolution to health and happiness by kicking off 2019 with an invigorating First Day Hike at a state park near you. On January 1, Montana State Parks will host First Day Hikes at Makoshika State Park, Spring Meadow Lake State Park, Flathead Lake State Park-Wayfarers, Lone Pine State Park, Travelers’ Rest State Park, and Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. These fun and informative guided-hikes are open to all ages and are family friendly.

Montana State Parks First Day Hikes are available at:

Flathead Lake State Park-Wayfarers – 10am (Bigfork)
Meet at the Flathead Lake Ranger Station and enjoy a 1 to 2-mile, moderate hike around the park. Children should be prepared for hiking uphill. Participants will have the opportunity to catch their breath and enjoy beautiful scenic vistas with a few short stops along the way. Dogs on leashes are welcome. For more information call (406) 837-3041.

Lone Pine State Park – 5pm to 7pm (Kalispell)
Enjoy a moderate, 1.75-mile guided hike through the park or take a short, self-guided hike to the overlook at night to enjoy the city lights. Hikes begin and end at the picnic shelter with a bright campfire and warm drinks. Snowshoes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Headlamps or flashlights are recommended. Dogs welcome on leash. To register, please call (406) 755-2706 ext. 2.

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park – 11am (Whitehall)
Join park guide Audrey Howard for a moderate, 3 to 4-mile hike into the parts of the park that most visitors miss. The hike will meet at the park’s main visitor center near the park entrance. For more information, contact (406) 287-3541.

Makoshika State Park – 11am (Glendive)
Meet at the visitor center for this easy 1-mile hike to introduce participants to Makoshika’s badland topography. Refreshments provided following the hike. No dogs please. For more information, contact (406) 377-6256.
Spring Meadow Lake State Park – 12pm (Helena)
Join park staff for an easy 1-mile, informative hike around Spring Meadow Lake. Hot cocoa and cookies will be provided following the hike. No dogs, please. For more information, call (406) 495-3270.

Travelers’ Rest State Park – 11am (Lolo/Missoula)
Walk into history as you loop through the historic Travelers’ Rest campsite on this 1-mile, easy hike. Look out for winter birds and wildlife such as American Dippers, Belted Kingfishers, Black-billed Magpies, red fox, and whitetail and mule deer. Explore the rich riparian area along Lolo Creek, ending back at the visitor center for hot chocolate and a winter ecology game. No dogs, please. For more information, call (406) 273-4253.

Hikers should wear weather-appropriate clothing, bring a water bottle and ice cleats or snowshoes if the trail conditions are snowy or icy. First Day Hike participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes. For more information on these or other Montana state parks, visit: stateparks.mt,gov.

“First Day Hikes” is an annual, nationwide special event co-sponsored by America’s State Parks which originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation – a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. Last year, more than 33,000 people participated on guided hikes that covered over 70,500 miles on 1,100 hikes across the country. All 50 states will be participating in the seventh annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with guided outdoor exploration.

Visit Montana State Parks (stateparks.mt.gov) and enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and more and discover some of the greatest natural and cultural treasures on earth.