Every year, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department joins a nationwide initiative called “First Day Hikes” on New Year’s Day. This year, Stub Stewart State Park is one of 20 state parks with free hikes led by rangers or volunteers.
The usual $5 parking fee is waived January 1.
At Stub Stewart, located north of Buxton, park rangers will lead participants on a two-mile hike on the Boomscooter Trail.
“Bring your trail strollers for the young ones and remember your four-legged sidekicks are on their leashes,” a post from the Friends of Stub Stewart State Park and Banks-Vernonia Rails to Trails Facebook page read.
On hand will be coffee, hot cocoa and more. Those wishing to join the hike are asked to meet at the Dairy Creek West meeting hall, but follow signs to the parking area at Dairy Creek East loop, as parking is limited at the meeting hall.
“We will also have the fire ring outside roaring for your warming pleasure,” the group said.
The trail features moderate elevation gain, and is a two to four foot wide dirt trail with some paved sections. Wildlife viewing opportunities are great, the friends group said.
The weather forecast as of Saturday showed lows in the low 30s and highs in the low 40s with little chance of rain to ring in the new year.
“Be ready to bundle up with family and friends and join hikes to learn about park history, geology, wildlife and plants at parks around the state from the high desert to the coast,” an OPRD press release said.
“A guided hike is great way to kick off 2023 in the outdoors and begin a new tradition or continue a longstanding family tradition,” said Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “As our centennial year comes to a close, we’re excited to begin the next 100 years of Oregon State Parks and continue to offer year-round recreation.”
Visit the Oregon First Day Hikes web page to see the list of parks hosting hikes as well as the start times and meetup locations. Additional hike information is also available including terrain and hike distance via the park links on the web page. A few hikes require registration.
Remember to plan for winter weather, dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, bring water and carry binoculars for viewing wildlife.
Share photos of First Day Hikes via Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #ORfirstdayhikes or tagging “Oregon State Parks” on Facebook.