First Day Hikes In Virginia State Parks Begin Jan. 1, 2021

Deb Belt

VIRGINIA — Start 2021 with a visit to one of 39 Virginia State Parks on Jan. 1, suggest Virginia parks officials. First Day Hikes is an initiative of America's State Parks.

There are many hikes and opportunities to choose from, or you can visit a park of your choosing and create your own hike.

First Day Hike Challenge

Join the First Day Hike Challenge. Simply visit a Virginia State Park on Jan. 1, and then enter the contest. One entry is allowed per mailing address. Include the number in your party, the length you hiked, and some basic information. Winners will be selected by random drawing. This entry will be used to mail your Collector’s Edition First Day Hike sticker.

If you don’t have a way to calculate your hiking distance, download the park’s Avenza map and the Avenza app can calculate the distance you hiked.

Prizes:

  • Grand Prize: $500 Virginia State Parks gift certificate

  • 1st Place: $250 Virginia State Parks gift certificate

  • 2nd Place: $100 Virginia State Parks gift certificate

  • 3rd Place: $75 Virginia State Parks gift certificate

While you're out on your hike, take some photos to include in the First Day Hike Photo Contest. You may enter up to three photos. Read the contest rules carefully. Photos must be taken on Jan. 1, 2020, and uploaded to the contest before 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Prizes:

  • Grand Prize: $500 Virginia State Parks gift certificate

  • 1st Place: $250 Virginia State Parks gift certificate

  • 2nd Place: $100 Virginia State Parks gift certificate

  • 3rd Place: $75 Virginia State Parks gift certificate

  • And a special prize for the most creative COVID-19 mask(s).

Many of the parks have created self-guided hike trail guides and activity sheets to help you on your journey.

All Parks - Virginia State Parks Sensory Scavenger Hunt Activities

Claytor Lake State Park -

Chippokes Plantation State Park -

Douthat State Park -

False Cape State Park -

Grayson Highlands State Park -

Holliday Lake State Park -

Hungry Mother State Park -

Kiptopeke State Park -

Lake Anna State Park -

Pocahontas State Park -

Seven Bends State Park -

Sky Meadows State Park -

Smith Mountain Lake State Park -

Westmoreland State Park -

Widewater State Park -

York River State Park -

Park Trail Maps

Download park maps to help you navigate the trails.

Be Safe

Because of COVID-19 limitations, there are more self-guided opportunities. Bring a mask as they are required in all indoor facilities including restrooms, and when social distancing is not possible (like access points and parking lots). Please read the program listings carefully so you will know what is required.

Parking

While nearly all parks will be free, there are two exceptions. Natural Bridge State Parks has a per person admission fee for access to the bridge that still applies. The $5 parking fee for trail access outside of the Natural Bridge is waived. Per person admission at Southwest Virginia Museum also applies.

This article originally appeared on the Leesburg Patch