Day hikes on January 1

Want to welcome the new year outdoors? You have come to the right place to do so. Arizona State Parks and Trails joins a nationwide collaboration of 50 states to host First Day Hikes on January 1, 2022.

Park rangers, naturalists and volunteers will lead hikes and activities in Arizona parks. Participants will learn about cultural features, history, plants and wildlife.

The topic and level of effort is up to you. You can take a birdwatching walk, a history walk, a desert hike or, if you’re up for a challenge, an uphill hike.

Be sure to prepare for weather and trail conditions. Bring plenty of water and snacks, wear proper hiking shoes, and dress appropriately – you may need winter gear or rain gear.

Your day one hike also qualifies for Arizona State Parks’ Eight4Two Trail Challenge. Those who complete the challenge of hiking at least eight trails in four parks by Jan. 18 win two day passes.

Ready to go on a day one hike? Here’s what’s available. Check each park’s website for information on registration, admission fees, and directions.

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Day One Hikes in Arizona State Parks

Buckskin Mountain State Park: Join a ranger for an easy to moderate 3 mile hike on the Market Trail Loop with plenty of photo opportunities of the mountains and Colorado River north of Parker.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/buckskin.

Hikers enjoy a waterside trail in Cattail Cove State Park.

Cattail Cove State Park: Learn about the area’s history, plants, and wildlife on this moderate 2-3 mile hike. Meet the ranger at the launch area/trailhead. The park is south of the city of Lake Havasu.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/cattail-cove/.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park: This park in Cottonwood offers two activities.

  • Bird watching and nature hike: A 3-mile guided hike will take participants along the Verde River and around the edges of the lagoons to spot signs of beavers, otters, waterfowl and other wildlife. Meet at the West Lagoon car park.
  • Guided hike: This 3 mile hike will provide great views of the Verde River and the Tuzigoot National Monument.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/dead-horse.

Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area: Learn about the history of Adair Settlement in the 1800s and how this Show Low park got its name on this easy 1.5-hour hike.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/fool-hollow.

Homolovi State Park: Join a ranger for a moderate 2 mile hike on the Tsu’vo Trail to Diné Point. Hikers will see petroglyphs made by the area’s first inhabitants. The park is just north of Winslow.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/homolovi.

Kartchner Caves State Park: The park near Benson will offer two day one hikes. Guided cave tours are also available. Make reservations online in advance.

  • Guindani Trail: Meet at the campground for a moderate 4.2 mile hike up the eastern flank of the Whetstone Mountains.
  • Foothill Loop Trail: Join a ranger on this moderate 2.5 mile hike to learn about the history of the San Pedro River Valley. Go to the hummingbird garden.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/kartchner.

Lake Havasu State Park: Take a moderate 1.5-2 mile guided hike on the Sunset Trail. The path is sand and asphalt and the hike includes stops at one of the park’s lighthouses and the cactus garden.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/lake-havasu.

Lost Dutchman State Park: There will be two guided hikes in this park at Apache Junction.

  • Beginner hike: Walk 1 mile along the Treasure Loop Trail with an elevation gain of 75 feet.
  • Moderate hike: Want more challenge? Walk the Treasure Loop Trail for 2.5 miles and an elevation gain of 500 feet.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/lost-dutchman.

Lake Lyman State Park: Hike the Petroglyph Trail to see ancient marks made by early inhabitants. Meet at the general store in this park near St. Johns. This trail requires a slight climb.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/lyman-lake.

Picacho Peak State Park: Hike the Calloway Trail to a lookout below the face of Picacho Peak, off Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. This hike is 1.5 miles and moderately difficult. The maximum number of participants is 20. Registration is recommended; Walk-ins are welcome if space permits.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/picacho.

Red Rock State Park: This park in Sedona offers two activities.

  • Bird Walk: Join a seasoned bird enthusiast to learn more about Sedona’s bird species. Bring binoculars if you have them. The hike will take approximately two hours. Meet on the roof of the Visitor Center.
  • Nature walk: Join a volunteer naturalist to learn about the geology, history, archeology, and flora and fauna of Red Rock State Park.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/red-rock.

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Riordan Mansion State Historic Park: Take a one-hour guided walk through this 5-acre Flagstaff property. Dress warmly and wear waterproof shoes.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/riordan-mansion.

Slide Rock State Park: Join a ranger for a walk on the Pendley Homestead Trail, around the natural clifftop loop, and into Hospital Canyon. The hike will be 1.5-2 miles long and is rated moderate. The park is north of Sedona.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/slide-rock.

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Tonto Natural Bridge State Park: Join a ranger for half a mile to learn about the Tonto Natural Bridge north of Payson. The outing will last approximately 90 minutes.

Details: https://azstateparks.com/tonto.

You can connect with Arizona Republic culture and outside reporter Shanti Lerner via email at [email protected] or you can also follow her on Twitter.

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