Chadron State Park Again Part Of National “First Day Hike” Program


     Kick off the new year in the great outdoors this Saturday with a First Day Hike, an effort in all 50 starts to get people outdoors and into state parks.

     New Year’s Day hikes are offered this year at 18 Nebraska sites and a half-dozen in South Dakota. In our area, there are hikes at Chadron State Park, the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area, and Custer State Park in South Dakota. 

     Chadron State Park is offering a guided hike starting at 10:00 at the Sawmill Shelter and traveling about a mile on the Steamboat Butte. It’s described as moderate and should last about an hour. Dress for the weather and bring water, snacks and a camera. 

     The Wildcat Hills First Day Hike is in the afternoon, starting at 1:00 and is described as a “moderate half-mile.” Pets are welcome on a 6’ leash, hot chocolate and cookies await at the end, and pre-registration is needed. 

       The Custer State Park hike is the earliest, starting at 8:00 and also requires pre-registration by calling 605-225-4515.

      The appropriate state park entry permit is needed at each of the 3 sites and can be purchased there on Saturday. Those taking one of the Nebraska hikes are encouraged to post pictures and comments with the tag @NEGameandParks. 

      The First Day Hike program was begun more than 2 decades ago in Massachusetts with last year the first time all 50 state park systems took part, offering more than 400 hikes nationwide.

     It’s described as a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the New Year with friends and family while promoting year-round recreation at the country’s state parks.