First Day hikes in the Hudson Valley

The annual First Day Hike on the Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park will be held on Monday, January 1 at 2 p.m. The east- and west-side gates will be open. Participants will receive a First Day Hike backpack (quantities limited) and a raffle ticket to win other Walkway items.

Several of our scenic preserves are offering First Day hikes or snowshoeing events (weather-dependent, of course) on the first day of the year:

Sam’s Point in Cragsmoor is having a First Day hike or snowshoe on Monday, January 1 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The approximately three-mile trek will go through the scenic park preserve by snowshoe unless there is insufficient snow cover, in which case it’ll be a hike. Snowshoes may be reserved in advance for $5. (If renting snowshoes, participants will want to arrive early.) Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian over age 18. Preregistration is required by calling (845) 647-7989.

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At the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, hikers on January 1 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. will take a 3.5-mile Mossy Glen snowshoe or hike through the forest, along the Peter’s Kill stream and returning on the Lower Awosting Carriage Road. Meet in the Awosting parking area. Minnewaska’s environmental educator Laura Conner will lead the group. Limited snowshoe loans are available. Preregistration is required at (845) 255-0752.

Also on Monday, January 1 at 2 p.m., Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park will offer its annual First Day Hike. The east- and west-side gates will be open. Participants will receive a First Day Hike backpack (quantities limited) and a raffle ticket to win Walkway items such as apparel and event tickets. Walkers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to begin the hike at either of Walkway State Park’s main entrance gates in Highland and Poughkeepsie and proceed to the Walkway’s center observation area, where the raffle prizes will be drawn at 2:30 p.m. The Walkway State Historic Park Elevator will not be in service for this event. While preregistration is not required, those wishing to participate are encouraged to register at http://walkway.org or call (845) 834-2867. In the event of severe weather, the hike will be canceled. Cancellations will be posted to http://walkway.org and social media sites.

The Mid-Hudson Adirondack Mountain Club is sponsoring a First Day walk from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mills and Norrie State Parks on Old Post Road in Staatsburg. The leader will be Georgette Weir. The group will walk a four-mile loop, including the popular River Trail, featuring gorgeous views of the Hudson River, which runs directly along the parks’ western boundaries. Bring water and snacks and dress for the weather. Spikes or snowshoes may be required, depending on conditions.

For more of a leisurely stroll, a New Year’s Day Easy Hike will be hosted by the Mid-Hudson Adirondack Mountain Club. The walk will meander through the Vassar campus, unless the weather turns warm enough to walk at Vassar Farms in Poughkeepsie. The campus is free of students on that day and has paved paths. Be prepared for icing, and afterward group leader Sue Mackson will offer soups and light refreshments. Meet at 1 p.m. at the Collegeview Parking Lot (Vassar North Gate). Questions may be directed to suemackson@gmail.com.

And to close out the first day of the year, how about a moonlit walk? The New Year’s Day Full Moon Hike at Tymor Forest in Union Vale on Monday, January 1 will begin at 7 p.m., guided by park staff. Approximately an hour-and-a-half in length, the hike under the stars will be on the trails of Tymor Forest and end with hot chocolate and coffee. Please, no dogs. More information is available at www.unionvaleny.us.