Dec 21, 2012 8:10 AM by Jeff Beamish
TUCSON - For the second year, America's State Parks announced a national collaboration of all 50 State Park systems across America that will sponsor guided "First Day Hikes" on New Year's Day 2013. Arizona State Parks will charge entrance fees only for the First Day Hikes at: Alamo Lake, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Buckskin Mountain, Catalina, Cattail Cove, Dead Horse Ranch, Lake Havasu, Kartchner Caverns, Lost Dutchman, Patagonia Lake, Picacho Peak, Red Rock and Roper Lake and will waive program fees.
According to State Parks Director Bryan Martyn, "Arizona State Parks is happy to participate in this national event on January 1. We are committed to promoting outdoor recreation as a way to get the kids outside and unplugged from their video games and other electronic media."
Arizona's "First Day Hikes" offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy walk at one of these 13 State Parks. "These hikes offer ways to get outside, exercise and enjoy nature while welcoming the New Year with friends and family," said Martyn.
Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America's State Parks website. Go to www.americasstateparks.org/first-day-hikes to see what other states are doing if you are traveling.
Regular Day Use Entrance Fees apply at each park, however, there is no additional fee for the hike program. For more information about Arizona State Parks and First Day Hikes go to AZStateParks.com or call (602) 542-4174. You can also keep up with new information about activities in Arizona State Parks through Facebook and Twitter at AZStateParks. As a part of this program, the Arizona State Parks listed below will offer guided hikes on January 1. So get out and hike!
Alamo Lake SP: 9 am. Meet at Ranger Station/Store. Moderate hike for ages 10 and up. No dogs allowed. 1 mile. The hike will showcase plants and animals of the park. Bring warm clothes, water and good walking shoes.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum SP: 8:30 am. Sonoran Desert Bird Walk with Arizona State Parks Volunteer Mark Ochs and friends. Meet at Visitor Center. All ages. Leashed dogs allowed. Dress in layers, bring water bottle, hat, binoculars and camera.
Buckskin Mountain SP: 10 am. Meet at the "New" Trailhead across from the Visitor Center. Moderate difficulty. Any age. No pets, except for service dogs. Length of trail is 1.5 miles. Bring hiking shoes and water.
Catalina SP: 8 am. Meet at main trailhead. No children under 10 and no dogs. Enjoy the Canyon Loop/Sutherland/50-year trail "Big Loop" which is a 7-8 miles hike and 600 foot elevation gain. Pace is slow but moderate. You must register for this hike by 4pm the day prior to the hike by calling (520) 638-5404 with Gaston Meloche. Bring water, snacks and good walking shoes.
Cattail Cove SP: 10 am. Meet at the launch ramp/trailhead area. This is a moderate 2.5 to 3 mile hike and will last approximately 3 hours. The hike led by Volunteers Bill and Betty Noble will discuss the history, fauna and wildlife of the area. Bring comfortable shoes, water and snacks.
Dead Horse Ranch SP: 9 am. Meet at West Lagoon parking lot. It will last approximately 1 1/2 hours and cover 2 to 3 miles. Hikers will meander along the Verde River riparian area as well as the 3 lagoons that are on the park. Dress in warm layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring water. Participants may also want to bring binoculars and a camera; the day might be good opportunity for photos and wildlife sightings).
Lake Havasu SP: 10 am. Ranger Cindy Smith and Volunteer Jim Scott will lead a hike along the Sunset Trail discussing the flora and fauna of Lake Havasu with an emphasis on avian visitors. Bring water, supportive shoes, hat and binoculars.
Kartchner Caverns SP: 9-11 am Take a guided hike of the Foothills Loop Trail. Hike will include discussion of plant life, geology, hydrology and conservation. The hike will last approximately 2 hours. Visitors should bring their own water, hat and sun protection. Camera and/or binoculars suggested, but not necessary.
Lost Dutchman SP: 9 am. Meet at Saguaro day-use area. Join us for a ranger led hike on Treasure Loop Trail. Learn about desert flora and fauna and the history of Superstition Mountains and the Lost Dutchman Mine. This is a moderate hike with an elevation gain of 500 feet, 2.5 miles round trip, 2 hours. Carry water, dress in warm layers and wear sturdy trail shoes or hiking boots. In case of rain, hike will be cancelled.
Patagonia Lake SP: 9 am. Meet at Visitor Center. Hike the Sonoita Creek-Blackhawk Loop to Vista Trail. See several different habitats and a variety of birds and wildlife with guides. Bring sturdy shoes, binoculars, water and snacks or lunch. The first stage of the hike is 2.75 miles round trip. If you choose, continue to the Vista Trail. The entire hike is approximately 5 miles and 4 hours long. Call (520) 287-2791 to register.
Picacho Peak SP: 10 am. Meet at Sunset Vista Trail Head for an approximately 4 mile Ranger lead hike. The hike will be a moderate hike on the backside of Picacho Peak. Bring hiking boots, sun protection, and at least 1 liter of water.
Red Rock SP: 10 am and 2 pm. Meet at Visitor Center. No dogs allowed. Enjoy a 1-1.5 hour interpretive naturalist-led hike. Bring water, good shoes, hat, and dress appropriately.
Roper Lake SP: 10 am. Meet at gatehouse. Minimum age 7. Length of hike is 2.25 miles. Bring sturdy shoes, binoculars, water, layered clothing, and camera.
For information about all 27 Arizona State Parks, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703), visit the website and online cave tour and camping reservations at AZStateParks.com, Twitter/Facebook AZStateParks.