First Day Hikes step out in tri-state - Jan. 1

First Day Hikes step out in tri-state - Jan. 1

December 26th, 2013 by Staff Report in Chattnow Outabout
Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Taking part in one of the First Day Hikes scheduled Wednesday, Jan. 1, means you can literally and figuratively start the new year off on the right foot.

State parks and other sites in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama will join in the 50-state venture, coordinated by America's State Parks, an organization managed by the National Association of State Park Directors.

According to its records, more than 22,000 people across the nation took part in one of the 721 First Day Hikes offered on Jan. 1, 2013. Hikers logged a total of 43,911 miles in outings that ranged from one mile to nine miles.

This list can help you decide where to head Wednesday. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather. Hiking boots or other sturdy shoes are recommended. Even on short outings, you'll want to tote water. Note that some hikes have age restrictions.

TENNESSEE

* Booker T. Washington State Park, Chattanooga, 10 a.m. Meet at Shelter 1B for a ranger-led, one-mile, moderately difficult hike through the park. Hot chocolate and coffee will be served after. Dress appropriately. Hiking boots are recommended. 423-894-4955, www.tnstateparks.com/BookerTWashington.

* Cumberland Mountain State Park, Crossville, 10 a.m. CST. Meet at the park restaurant for an easy-to-moderate, two-mile hike along the banks of Byrd Creek. Hot cocoa, coffee and water will be provided inside the restaurant at the start of the hike, and it will be open for lunch when hikers return. 931-484-6138, www.tnstateparks.com/CumberlandMtn.

* Cumberland Trail State Park, accessible from Crossville, 10 a.m. CST. Meet at the Head of Sequatchie Valley office for an easy, half-mile hike to learn about the cave site and the hydrology of the area. Minimum age: 4. 423-533-2928, www.friendsofthecumberla ndtrail.org/category/comingevents.

* Fall Creek Falls State Park, Pikeville, 1:30 p.m. CST. Meet in the lobby of the inn for an easy-to-moderate, four-mile lakeside hike on the paved bike trail to the park's signature waterfalls. Refreshments will be provided upon return. Minimum age: 10. 423-881-5298.

* Harrison Bay State Park, Chattanooga, 1 p.m. Meet at The Bay Point Loop trailhead in the upper parking lot at the marina for a short program about Harrison Bay and then a moderate, 4.5-mile hike. Hot drinks, water and snacks will be served after the hike. 423-344-6214, www.tnstateparks.com/HarrisonBay.

* Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park, Delano, 10 a.m. Meet at the park office for a seven-mile drive to the trailhead, where the moderate, three-mile hike will begin along the Hiwassee River. Minimum age: 5. 423-263-0050.

* Old Stone Fort State Park, Manchester, 10 a.m. CST. Meet at the museum to begin this moderate, 1.25-mile hike around the Old Stone Fort to learn how and why American Indians built such a place 2,000 years ago. Coffee and hot chocolate will be served afterward. 931-723-5073, email Jamie.Hambrock@tn.gov.

* Red Clay State Park, Cleveland, 10 a.m. Meet in the park office for this Council of Trees Hike, an easy, but sloping walk of about 1.7 miles through the winter woods. Warm up afterward in the visitor center with hot apple cider, hot chocolate, coffee and other refreshments. A storytelling session is included. 423-478-0339, www.tnstateparks.com/RedClay.

* South Cumberland State Park, Palmer, 9 a.m. CST. Meet at the Savage Gulf Ranger Station for a moderate, four-mile hike on the Savage Day loop by the falls. Scenery will include several suspension bridges, a waterfall and, perhaps, wildlife. Hot chocolate will be served in the ranger station upon return. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed. 931-779-3532.

* Tims Ford State Park, Winchester, 9 a.m. Meet at the visitor center for a moderate, 2.6-mile hike along the Lost Creek Overlook Trail, learning history of the park and observing the flora and fauna. Minimum age: 8. 931-962-1183.

GEORGIA

* Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn, 10 a.m. Meet at the Interpretive Center for this easy, 4-mile hike that takes the Overlook Trail and makes the Backcountry Loop. $5 parking. 706-657-4050.

* Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth, noon. The guided hike around Fort Mountain Lake is preceded at 11 a.m. by the Black Bear Plunge into the lake. Registration and a fee is required for the plunge; the hike is free. $5 parking. 706-422-1932.

* James H. "Sloppy" Floyd State Park, Summerville, 2 p.m. This easy, 1.5-mile hike circles the Lower Lake for a brief history lesson and views of flora and fauna. $5 parking. 706-857-0826.

* Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area, Rome, 10 a.m. Meet at at the Visitor Information parking lot for this ranger-led hike around the Nature Trail. It includes information about the history of the area as well the plants and animals that inhabit the ridge-and-valley geography. 706-802-5087.

* Vogel State Park, Blairsville, 9 a.m. This moderate, four-hour hike on the Bear Hair Gap Trail will include time for a trail lunch, if desired. $5 parking. 706-745-2628.

ALABAMA

* DeSoto State Park, Fort Payne, 10 a.m. CST. Meet at the Country Store for a six-mile hike over moderate to rugged terrain to see waterfalls large and small, including Lost Falls, Laurel Falls, Indian Falls and Lodge Falls, as well as Laurel Creek and the west fork of Little River. Hikers should bring snacks and lunch. Minimum age: 6. For other restrictions, as well as the status of the hike in the event of bad weather, call 256-601-7593 or 256-997-5025.