Celebrate the New Year in a New Hampshire State Park

New Hampshire State Parks invites the public to kick off the New Year and New Year’s Day with a hike. Five state parks across New Hampshire will host free hikes to providing the opportunity for individuals and families to welcome in 2020 in the outdoors, exercising and connecting with nature.

This is the tenth year New Hampshire has participated in the First Day Hikes program. The program is part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors.

The following is the 2020 New Hampshire’s First Day Hike schedule:

Milan Hill State Park
The well-groomed, 16 kilometer XC ski-trail network, maintained by the Nansen Ski Club, in and around Milan Hill State Park will open for cross-country skiers and those wanting to snowshoe. Park Staff and club volunteers will be onsite with trail maps and suggested routes for those with varying skill levels who wish to take a self-guided tour of the Park and its trails. The event will leave from the newly constructed Warming Hut near the Park entrance. Your adventure will offer opportunities to spot animal tracks and take in expansive views of the Northern Presidential White Mountains from the trails, with the option of a spectacular 360-degree view from the fire tower at the top of Milan Hill. Hot drinks and snacks will be offered back at the warming hut upon your return. Limited stock of demo XC skis will be available. Dogs are welcomed but must be leashed! Owners are responsible for carrying out any pet waste.

Address: 72 Fire Tower Road, Milan, NH 03588
Parking: Main entrance parking lot
Pets Permitted: Yes

Monadnock State Park
Join park staff and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests land stewards for a 3-mile hike along the Parker Trail to the Little Mountain Viewpoint. The hike starts with a glimpse of Poole Reservoir and continue on following rolling hills and old stonewalls as you round the base of Mt. Monadnock towards the Old Toll Rd. This hike will take approximately 3 hours to complete. For those looking for a more leisurely hike, follow the Parker Trail to the Cliff Walk Junction and back. The shorter hike will take approximately 2 hours to complete and follows relatively flat terrain. After the hike, enjoy hot drinks and snacks while warming up next to the outdoor fire.

Address: 116 Poole Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452
Parking: HQ parking lot
Pets Permitted: No

Odiorne Point State Park
Join park staff and the Seacoast Science Center for a self-guided natural history hike through the varied habitats of Odiorne Point State Park. Trail options include the 3-mile Odiorne Point Loop Trail, which takes you past WWII fortifications, such as Battery Seaman, and the .9-mile Seacoast Science Center and Founders Monument loop trail, with a section along the rocky coastline. Guides will be present to share the natural history of this seacoast park. Join us to seek signs of wildlife, watch shorebirds, discover tide pools, and enjoy the many varieties of trees and plants that highlight Odiorne Point State Park as a unique coastal habitat. After the hike, enjoy a warm drink and snack inside Seacoast Science Center. Dogs are welcomed but must be leashed! Owners are responsible for carrying out any pet waste.

Address: 570 Ocean Blvd, Rye, NH 03870
Parking: Main Entrance Parking Lot
Pets Permitted: No

Franconia Notch State Park, Flume Gorge
Join park staff for a self-guided hike through the winter woods of Franconia Notch State Park- Flume Gorge. This is an opportunity to experience winter hiking in the White Mountains and the Flume gorge. See what the Gorge looks like in the winter and get a glimpse of the forces that formed the Flume during the ice age. Find animal tracks in the snow and listen to the wind through the silent hardwood forest. The hike will begin from the North side of the Gilman Visitor Center (closed in winter) and follows the summer route of the Flume Gorge trail. Guest will have two hike options, Option 1 – The 2-mile Flume Gorge Trail Loop. This option takes you past the Flume covered bridge to the base of the Gorge. It then traverses around the Gorge (boardwalks are removed for the winter) and brings you to a look off above Avalanche Falls at the top of the Flume Gorge. The trail then takes you west to the Pool and Sentinel Pine Covered bridge and back to the visitor’s center. Option 2 – A shorter hike option is a 1 1/2 mile, out and back hike to the base of the Flume Gorge and back. Both hike options are moderate and require traction devices for walking on snow and ice. Snow depth may warrant the use of snowshoes. Dogs are welcomed but must be leashed! Owners are responsible for carrying out any pet waste.

Address: 852 Daniel Webster Hwy, Lincoln, NH 03251
Parking: Main Entrance Parking Lot
Pets Permitted Yes

Bear Brook State Park
Join park staff on a moderate 2.5-mile hike through the northern side of Bear Brook on Big Bear and return to the parking via Salt Lick. When you have finished this self-guided hike, grab a warm drink and a snack park staff will be serving by the fireside in the parking lot. Dogs are welcomed but must be leashed! Owners are responsible for carrying out any pet waste.

Address: 12 Podunk Road, Allenstown, NH 03588
Parking: Hiker/Biker Lot
Pets Permitted: Yes

To register for the First Day Hikes and to find more information, visit nhstateparks.org. For questions, please contact Eric Feldbaum, nhfdh@dncr.nh.gov or 603-271-3556.

The Division of Parks and Recreation is one of five divisions of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. NH State Parks and Recreation is comprised of the Bureau of Park Operations, Bureau of Historic Sites, Bureau of Trails, Community Recreation, and Cannon Mountain. The Division manages 93 properties, including state parks, beaches, campgrounds, historic sites, trails, waysides, and natural areas. To learn more about NH Parks and Recreation, visit www.nhstateparks.org, follow NH State Parks on Facebook and Twitter, or call 603/271-3556.