Virginia First Day Hikes are a great way to kick off the new year with healthy, family-friendly fun at parks around the state. People all over the country start the new year with new exercise goals. And on January 1st, America's State Parks support personal and family fitness with special events and guided hikes.
If fitness and health are part of your New Year's Resolutions, First Day Hikes are a perfect way to start the new year. All Virginia State Parks celebrate the new year with free park entry, special programs, and plenty of trails if you want to head out on your own.
Fairfax County Parks also join the fitness fun with a First Hike Fairfax photo contest and prizes. Regional parks and battlefields are other options for First Day Hikes, and you can always plan your own outing. Read on for information and tips to plan your own Virginia First Day Hikes.
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Find more great Virginia trails: Northern Virginia Hikes and Favorite Bike Trails Near DC.
Northern Virginia State Park First Day Hikes
Every year Virginia State Parks encourages everyone to start the new year outdoors with First Day Hikes. In 2023 there are both ranger-led hikes and self-guided hiking opportunities.
Guided hikes at Northern Virginia State Parks are ideal for families, infrequent hikers, and anyone who'd like to explore a park with a group. Everyone is also welcome to skip the guided events and create their own First Day Hikes at Virginia State Parks.
Here are four beautiful Virginia State Parks in Northern VA where you can enjoy a variety of First Day Hikes.
First Day Hikes at Leesylvania State Park
This year Leesylvania State Park hosts two expert-led First Day Hikes, at 10:00 and 1:00. If you prefer to head out on your own, we suggest the route on this Leesylvania State Park Hike Through History, which includes a scenic view and historic sites.
First Day Hikes at Mason Neck State Park
Mason Neck State Park has a fun collection of trails from easy to moderate in difficulty. Plan your hike with our guide to Mason Neck State Park Nature and Outdoor Fun. In 2023, the park will welcome First Day hikers with a day of ranger-led hikes of varying lengths.
Mason Neck is a dog-friendly park, but your four-legged friend must be on a leash at all times. Park entry and parking are free on January 1st.
First Day Hiking Trails at Sky Meadows State Park
Start the new year with a stunning sunrise when you hike to one of the overlooks at Sky Meadows State Park. The gates open at 5:30 AM on New Year's Day and admission to the park is free all day.
Later, enjoy a ranger-led hike beginning at 10:00. Or strike out on your own on this beautiful Sky Meadows Loop Hike to Virginia Piedmont Views. Leashed dogs are welcome.
Shenandoah River State Park First Day Hikes
Join two guided hikes at Shenandoah River State Park then enjoy refreshments at the Visitor Center. You can also explore 24 miles of trails on your own, from an easy riverside walk to steeper and longer trails. Leashed dogs are welcome at the park.
First Hike Fairfax at County Parks
The Fairfax County Park Authority joins in the New Year fun with First Hike Fairfax 2023 to get you outside and on the trail. This year's photo contest is a two-day event with special prizes.
Here's how the contest works:
- Take a hike at any of the Fairfax County parks from December 31 to January 1 and take some photos.
- Upload your favorite photo from your hike to enter the First Hike Photo Contest. There are several categories including Best in Show for Landscapes, Wildlife, People, and Pets.
- Prizes include $100 and $50 Park Authority Gift Cards and Rec Center fast passes in several photo categories.
Here are a few of our favorite Fairfax County park trails perfect for a First Day hike:
- Burke Lake Loop Trail Hike
- Huntley Meadows Park Boardwalk Trail
- Lake Accotink Cross County Trail
- Woodland Loop Hike in Riverbend Park
- Lake Fairfax Trails
First Day Hikes in Prince William County
Start the new year with Virginia First Day Hikes on these Prince William County trails:
- At Bristoe Station Battlefield in Bristow local historians will guide a 90-minute, 3-mile hike through the battlefield. Pets are welcome to join, but the trail is not accessible for strollers. Free (donations welcome); 1:00 – 2:30.
- Plan your own hike through the woods at Conway Robinson State Forest in Gainesville.
- Enjoy an easy hike on the beautiful Neabsco Creek Boardwalk in Woodbridge, one of 6 Beautiful Boardwalk Trails in Northern Virginia.
- Start the new year off with a refreshing historic hike on the Manassas National Battlefield Park First Loop trail. Or take a shorter stroll around the historic sites at Henry Hill.
- Take a self-guided hike on any of the trails in Prince William Forest Park.
Will you be kicking off the new year with Virginia First Day Hikes? Happy hiking!