New Year's Day

Trek Into 2022 on a Fun and Fresh-Air'd ‘First Day Hike'

California State Parks has a list of wonderful ways to enjoy the New Year's Day tradition.

Maria Fuchs

What to Know

  • The New Year's Day tradition celebrates the outdoors, health, and community
  • California State Parks is spotlighting several guide-led events on Jan. 1, 2022
  • Park entrance fees will vary; check park entry details before you go

OLD EXPERIENCES SEEM TO FEEL NEW... on New Year's Day, each and every year. You can watch sunlight dapple through an oak's branches, or admire water as it ripples over rocks in a stream, or observe a hawk in flight, way in the distance, and somehow? There's a lovely novelness to each sighting, each sound, the feeling of a breeze passing over your shoulders. And, when you ponder it? Those are all new things for a new year. You've never seen a stream or a hawk in flight in the year you just entered. And there's a delightful doorway to maximizing those "everything is awesome" emotions, the freshness we all long to feel when the first day of January arrives: a First Day Hike.

FIRST DAY HIKES... have become a tradition in a number of California State Parks over the last several years, and while some hikers choose their own pathway and go on their own, others join a docent or volunteer as they ramble along a remarkable and beautiful park route. There are several such treks to choose from on Saturday, Jan. 1, with a list of must-knows and details available on the official First Day Hikes 2022 page. If you're a desert devotee, you may want to make your way to the Panorama Overlook Trail at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, where, fingers crossed, you might just behold some majestic bighorn sheep. And if you're a beach lover? There's a one-mile ramble in Carpinteria, with the promise of bird sightings, and perhaps a bark-tastic pinniped or two (seals and sea lions never seem to sleep in, even on New Year's Day, and they always want to share their enthusiasm, quite vocally, with the whole world).

PARK ENTRANCE FEES... will vary, depending on where you go, and the hikes fill out the day, with some happening in the morning and a handful in the afternoon. Check out the full list and think about greeting the fresh year in the fresh air, while getting a bit of exercise, and seeing some new-to-you corners of California (or those corners you already dearly love). There are few more auspicious ways to embrace the coming calendar, for time spent in natural beauty can instantly uplift, widen our view, and raise our hopes.

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