First Day Hike At State Parks

Published 3:32 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FARMVILLE – Area state parks are joining those across the state and nation on New Year's Day with the coast-to-coast observance of First Day Hike.

The theme revolves around starting 2012 off on the right foot, the right feet-literally.

Feet that are out getting exercise and enjoying nature's beauty.

As an added incentive, there is an associated contest for the best photographs taken while hiking in a state park that day and Virginia's top winner receives a free week's stay in a Virginia state park cabin.

High Bridge

“Here's your chance to win a top prize of a week's cabin stay at any Virginia State Park and we'll also give annual passes to ten runners up,” said a state park spokesperson.

Join High Bridge Trail Education Specialist Bob Flippen for a 3.6 mile hike from Main Street Plaza in Farmville to the River Road access point in Cumberland County on January 1st at 1 p.m. A shuttle will be available to return participants to Main Street. Short historical facts will be presented along the route. Take photos of your trek and submit one for a chance to win.

To enter, for photos from any state park that day, you can check in at the park on Four Square or Facebook Places.

Participants can also upload a photo from their hike to our Virginia

State Parks Facebook or Google+ pages or Tweet a photo to @VaStateParks.

You can upload a picture to your Flickr account and tag it VSP1stDayHike or email a picture to The deadline for these entries is 5 p.m. on January 1, 2012.

Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park will provide hot drinks.

For more information, call the park office at 315-0457.

Bear Creek

“Take the plunge at Bear Creek Lake State Park,” urged a park spokesperson.

“Not a plunge into the Lake, but a plunge into the New Year. At State Parks throughout America, folks will be enjoying a First Day Hike on January 1, 2012. Escape the stresses of the holidays with a stroll in the outdoors. Clear your head and loosen up your muscles!,” the spokesperson said.

“Walk our self-guided interpretive Channel Cat Loop Trail. At 12:00 noon, we'll also have: Bark in the Park walk. Learn some tips on how to identify trees once the leaves have fallen off,” the spokesperson continued.

The Friends of Bear Creek Lake will be on hand at Bear Creek Hall from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to offer warm beverages, along with trail maps and other Park information.

“Bring out the kids and let them run off some of the steam they've been building up indoors. There's also the barren beauty of the woods in winter that we so often overlook. If there's dusting of snow, so much the better!” the spokesperson enthused.

Call the Bear Creek Lake State Park Office at 804-492-4410 for more information on how to be a part of this nationwide exercise.

Holliday Lake

“Start 2012 off with a refreshing self-guided hike along our Northridge and Lakeshore Trails! Enjoy nature with this one-mile loop hike that begins on the Northridge Trail just above the Picnic Area Bath House. You'll have a magnificent view of the lake,” a spokesperson for the park said.

At about the halfway point, you'll reach the Northridge Overlook and the end of the Northridge Trail. Set on a point overlooking the north end of the lake, it has interpretive signs and a picnic table. Spend a few moments resting and taking in the information about local wildlife and nature.

Then you'll get on the Lakeshore Trail (turn left off the overlook) and go downhill just a bit to bring you level with the lake's edge. This part of the trail parallels the Northridge Trail and looks out across the lake with spectacular views of the water.

“You may be lucky enough to see some wildlife along the way, maybe even a bald eagle or osprey. You'll end almost where you started just below the Picnic Area Bath House and right next to Shelter # 1,” the spokesperson said.

The park is open from 8 a.m. to dusk. Trail Maps are available at the kiosk just past the Contact Station and at the electronic kiosk next to the office. Kids can enjoy doing the park's Scavenger Hunt (sheets can be found at the kiosk just past the Contact Station).

Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes State Park will commence its First Day Hike observance at 2 p.m.

“Come out for our first hike of the new year with our new self guided Story Hike,” a park spokesperson said. “A story is broken down into pages and is posted along the trail so that participants can read as they walk. You and your family can exercise your brains and your bodies together this New Years Day!”

For more information on this event and other upcoming events call (434) 392-3435

James River

James River State Park will also be welcoming First Day Hike visitors to its variety of trails that hug the riverbank, cross meadows and wetlands and take one up ridges and into forests.

“Do you make New Year resolutions and then not keep them? Well, make a resolution to get out to a state park and hike at least once in 2012, then come to this one and you're off to a good start for the year!” said a park spokesperson.

“Virginia State Parks and their staff are doing “First Day Hikes” statewide to encourage people to exercise more and get out and enjoy all of Virginia's wonderful state parks. Here at James River, we will wait until everyone arrives and then vote on how long of a hike to take together,” the spokesperson said. “So it could be as short or as long as you like! Plan on bringing warm clothes and good shoes, even though tennis shoes will be fine if you don't have hiking boots.

That's 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and gather at the visitor's center.