Pikes Peak to celebrate the new year with a First Day Hike on Jan. 1

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Pikes Peak State Park is one of 17 Iowa state parks that will sponsor a free, guided hike on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative. 

America’s State Parks First Day Hikes give people an opportunity to begin the New Year connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on Friday, Jan. 1, at a state park close to home.

“It’s a big initiative that’s really taken off,” noted park ranger Rylan Retallick.

According to Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors, last year, hundreds of state parks across the country hosted a record-breaking 41,000 people who hiked 72,442 miles.

This is the first year Pikes Peak has participated, and Retallick said a relatively flat route has been planned.

Participants will meet at the park’s overlook parking lot at 1 p.m. The group will then hike from the Weeping Rock Trail to the Hickory Ridge Trail, about one to one and a half miles, Retallick said. Hikers will be able to see Indian mounds, a beautiful view of the Mississippi River and possibly some wildlife. 

“It’s informal,” he said. “There’s no set program.”

Children under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Pets are also welcome, but they must be on a leash. Attendees should dress for the weather.

Retallick said the hike will finish in time for everyone to get home to watch the Rose Bowl. However, people are welcome to stay longer, to enjoy the park, if they would like.

Other Northeast Iowa parks participating in the First Day Hike initiative include Yellow River State Forest and Backbone State Park.

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