Start the new year by getting outdoors and participating in First Day Hikes at Nebraska’s state parks Jan. 1.

These annual guided hikes give you the chance to explore trails, snap photos, watch wildlife and participate in any planned activities. Or choose any state park and create your own hiking adventure.

Activities include a potluck soup luncheon at Ash Hollow State Historical Park, a guided tour at Fort Hartsuff SHP, winter art activities at Schramm Park State Recreation Area, and tours of the new James Family Conservatory and Nature Center at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park. Bring your dog but be sure to keep him or her on a leash.

Branched Oak SRA will host an 8- to 10-mile First Day Horse Ride, rather than a hike.

Hikes are planned at:

  • Ash Hollow SHP
  • Buffalo Bill Ranch SHP
  • Calamus SRA
  • Chadron SP
  • Eugene T. Mahoney SP
  • Fort Hartsuff SHP
  • Fort Kearny SRA
  • Indian Cave SP
  • Johnson Lake SRA
  • Lake Maloney SRA
  • Lake Ogallala SRA
  • Louisville SRA
  • Mormon Island SRA
  • Platte River SP
  • Ponca SP
  • Red Willow SRA
  • Schramm Park SRA
  • Sherman SRA
  • Wagon Train SRA
  • Wildcat Hills SRA
  • Windmill SRA

Parks will have different activities. Check the details at each park, including start times for all First Day Hikes, at

Prepare for your winter hike by dressing in layers, wearing a hat, bringing a water bottle and checking the forecast. Start a new tradition by inviting some friends along to the parks.

A valid Nebraska state park permit is required for all vehicles entering park areas; 2024 permits are available at park offices or at

Those participating in the hikes are encouraged to tag @NEGameandParks in their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts for a chance to be featured in the agency’s social streams.