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First Day Guided Hikes

Guided First Day Hikes led by rangers and volunteers are set for 31 Oregon State Parks on New Year’s Day—Monday, Jan. 1. Hikes are free and the $5 day-use parking fee is waived that day for all state parks that require a parking permit and are open. “I’m excited that we can offer 34 guided hikes in 31 state parks this year,” said Lisa Sumption, director of OPRD. “When more parks offer hikes, Oregonians have more options to hike near their homes or explore a new park and trail. Plus, this year we’re including more trail accessibility information in our online hike descriptions and are offering reasonable accommodations so visitors of all abilities can join us.”

Locally there will be a first day hike at South Beach State Park. Take a 2-mile hike to the jetty along the Old Jetty Trail. Explore the forest and the beach and discover coastal wildlife and plants. If the weather is good, participants will hike back on the beach; otherwise, we’ll take the New Jetty Trail. The hike starts at 10 a.m. and begins in the day-use area. Meet at the information board near the restrooms. The Old Jetty Trail is compacted soil and not paved. The New Jetty Trail is fully paved but is not entirely level due to shifting tree roots. The beach sand will be maybe difficult to walk across depending on how wet it is. The hike is mostly on flat terrain. The hike isn’t suitable for strollers. Well-behaved dogs are allowed if they remain on leash for the entire hike.

There will also be a first day hike in Depoe Bay. The Whale Watch Hike is a 3-mile round trip from the Whale Center to Boiler Bay State Park and back. Participants will stop at two whale watching locations to spot migrating whales. The hike starts at 10 a.m. and begins on the north side of building at 119 S Coast Hwy 101, Depoe Bay. The stroll is on mostly paved sidewalk along US 101 with little to no elevation gain. At Boiler Bay some of the viewing areas are off the asphalt on the grass. No dogs on the hike, please.

Participants of any of the hikes should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and snacks, as well as a camera or binoculars for wildlife viewing. Share photos of First Day Hikes via Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #ORfirstdayhikes or tagging “Oregon State Parks” on Facebook. America’s State Parks sponsors the First Day Hikes program nationwide to encourage everyone to start the year outside and connect with nature. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) has participated since 2012.

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