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Johnstown hikers can enjoy a First Day Hike with DCNR

Come out and enjoy the scenic beauty of Pennsylvania's State Parks New Year's Day with a First Day Hike.  Scenes like this snow covered landscape at Shawnee State Park.
Come out and enjoy the scenic beauty of Pennsylvania's State Parks New Year's Day with a First Day Hike. Scenes like this snow covered landscape at Shawnee State Park.
G. Barner

The old year is leaving and the new one will be here in just a few hours. Many people will make a resolutions to improve their lives in the new year. Many of those resolutions will include losing weight or getting more exercise. One way to start off right on January 1 is to take part in an organized hike at one of our state parks in Pennsylvania.

For the third year, Pennsylvania is joining other states nationwide in sponsoring First Day Hikes at several parks throughout the state. This the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will sponsor free, guided hikes in 19 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of a nationwide effort to get people active outdoors. Nationwide the First Day Hikes are organized by the National Association of State Park Directors to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year - round recreation at state parks, all 50 states joined together for the first time in 2012 to sponsor First Day Hikes.

According to DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti, “Our First Day Hikes help remind people that our state parks and forests are open for healthy outdoor adventures in all four seasons, including winter. They are a great way to start the first day of the year and make a resolution to enjoy nature and get more exercise.”

Here are the details for the hikes closest to Johnstown:

  • Canoe Creek State Park – The park is combining their First Day Hike with their Winterfest. Winterfest includes refreshments around the fire beginning at 1:00 p.m. followed by the First Day Hike beginning at 2:00 p.m. They are also expecting to be able to have the sledding hill open.
  • Black Moshannon State Park – The First Day Hike lasts from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Enjoy a 2.1 mile hike. This hike will follow the Hay Road Trail to the Indian Trail. Meet at Boat Launch #3 on West Side Road. A limited number of snow shoes available for use.
  • Bald Eagle State Park – The First Day Hike lasts from 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. and leaves from the Environmental Learning Center.

Even if you are not able to attend one of these hikes, the trails in our state parks and forest are open for you to explore on your own. You could also try a local park as well. Here are some ideas:

  • Stackhouse Park in Westmont offers great trails for hiking
  • The James Mayer Riverwalk Trail is a good trail for the family
  • Shawnee State Park offers a great hike for the family along the 3 mile Lake Shore Trail
  • Prince Gallitzin State Park has many trails for winter hiking that can provide a wonderful challenge for all levels.
  • For the advanced hiker, Trough Creek State Park in the Raystown Lake region has trails with wonderful views. However, remember that the trails could have slippery spots during the winter so hike with someone else and be careful.

So bundle up, get out and explore the beauty of our state lands in winter. Enjoy a hike in the winter and get outdoors Johnstown.