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Spend the First Day of 2023 Hiking in Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests


(HARTFORD, CT) – The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) State Parks and its partners are encouraging people to get outside walking and hiking to enjoy nature on January 1st as Connecticut takes part in celebrating America’s State Parks First Day Hikes.

This annual event offers individuals and families an opportunity to begin the new year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike or walk on January 1, 2023, at a state park or forest. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the new year with friends and family.

“Starting off the new year with a hike is one of my favorite activities to do with my family,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes.With all 50 states offering First Day Hikes in state parks this year, I’m excited that our state parks and forests will have so many hiking options available to connect people with our natural environemtn and each other.”

DEEP State Parks and Forests have with various Friends of Connecticut State Parks groups to offer an array of in-person and self-guided hikes and programs – 14 total across the state which average 1 to 2 miles. Some hikes may be longer depending on the state park or forest. Hikers can choose outings that fit their comfort levels, including gentle, flat terrain, trail loops, rigorous hill climbs, walks along water, trails that wind through forests, or that feature potential wildlife encounters. Visit the DEEP Calendar of Events to find a First Day Hike of interest and for updates and additions as offerings may change.

Last year, approximately 800 hikers participated, and approximately 2,000 hikers have participated in previous years. An estimated 13 million visitors enjoy the 110 Connecticut State Parks across the state each year.

Currently scheduled events include:

  • Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge Event: Sessions Woods – Burlington

  • Gillette Castle – East Haddam

  • Scantic River State Park – Broad Brook

  • Osbornedale State Park – Derby

  • Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park – New London

  • West Rock Ridge State Park – Hamden

  • Chatfield Hollow State Park – Haddam

  • Putnam Memorial State Park – Redding

  • Auerfarm State Park – Bloomfield

  • Peoples State Forest – Barkhamsted

  • Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area, Burlington

  • Pachaug State Forest – Voluntown

  • Mansfield Hollow State Park Mansfield

  • Machimoodus State Park – East Haddam




The mission of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) and America’s State Parks is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation’s environment, heritage, health and economy. 

First Day Hikes originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation – a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. America’s State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. From Alaska to Florida, hikers can climb hills and mountain tops, walk along ponds and beaches, and traverse trails through forests, fields and prairies. Visitors can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air, discover wildlife tracks, feel the wind and the warmth of the sun or the coldness of the snow. Visitors can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, experience spectacular views and vistas and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable state park guide.

Established in 1913, the mission of the Connecticut State Parks and Public Outreach Division is to provide natural resource based public recreational and educational opportunities through a system of state park and forest recreation areas, environmental centers and nature centers which provide an understanding of, access to, and enjoyment of the state’s historic, cultural, and natural resources.


Twitter: @CTDEEPNews

Facebook: DEEP on Facebook


DEEP Communications  

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