Start Your New Year Off Right with a First Day Hike
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: December 31, 2019

(Helena, MT) –Make a New Year’s resolution to health and happiness by kicking off 2020 with a First Day Hike at a state park near you. On January 1, Montana State Parks will host First Day Hikes at Makoshika State Park, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, Lake Elmo State Park, Lone Pine State Park, Travelers’ Rest State Park, and Missouri Headwaters 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:

Lone Pine State Park – 3pm (Kalispell)
Enjoy a moderate, 1.5-mile guided hike on the Bearly There and Cliff trails. The hike will focus on wildlife tracking and winter ecology and will begin and end at the park picnic shelter. Headlamps or flashlights are recommended. Dogs welcome on leash. To register, please call (406) 755-2706 ext. 3.

Lake Elmo State Park – 9am (Billings)
Join park staff for an easy 1.5-mile hike at Lake Elmo State Park. The hike will be a great family friendly opportunity to explore a unique park close to the heart of Billings. Participants will meet in the FWP Region 5 Headquarters Parking Lot. For more information, contact (406) 671-5090.

Missouri Headwaters State Park – 11am (Three Forks)
Join park staff for a moderate 3-mile hike starting at the park’s Main Picnic grounds by the Gallatin River. The hike will feature a Ranger led tour of Fort Rock, where participants will be treated to breathtaking views of the rivers and the mountains surrounding the Gallatin Valley. Hot chocolate and toasted bagels will be provided while you warm up next to a campfire. No dogs, please. . For more information, contact (406) 285-3610

Makoshika State Park – 11am (Glendive)
Meet at the visitor center for this moderate 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.

First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park – 1pm-3:30pm (Ulm)
Join park staff for an moderate 3.5-mile hike at First Peoples Buffalo Jump. The hike will feature park staff speaking about the history of the jump as well as how the First Peoples survived on the landscape during the winter. Space on the hike is limited to 25 participants. No dogs, please. For more information, or to reserve a spot, please call (406) 866-2217.

Travelers’ Rest State Park – 11am-12pm (Lolo/Missoula)
Join park staff on a 1-mile walk in the footsteps of history along the park trails and look for wildlife! Participants will discover why wildlife call the Lolo Creek riparian area home and how they survive the cold winter months. The hike begins and ends at the the visitor center. Join participants for hot chocolate and a winter ecology game after the hike. 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 eighth 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.