Plan Your

First Day Hike

Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Pinnacle Mountain State Park

We are pleased that so many people have made First Day Hikes an annual tradition! It is exciting for Arkansas to be such a strong participant in this nationwide event occurring in all 50 state park systems. First Day Hikes are focused on healthy habits and lifelong memories.  

This year for First Day Hikes we will not offer guided hikes at any Arkansas State Park locations. However, we know the outdoors and healthy habits are more important than ever during this time, so we are encouraging self-guided walks and hikes on the "First Weekend," January 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. (Note: A few park locations are closed on the Jan. 1 holiday but will be open for Jan. 2-3. Visit our events calendar for specific parks to find out more about each park’s detailed plans.) 

Hikers are encouraged to log their completed hikes and miles that take place in Arkansas State Parks on those days here. We are excited to discover how many hikers cover how many miles in our state parks that weekend! And, we will send a free Arkansas State Park hiking sticker to each person in your group!

Arkansas State Parks sticker with hiking boots on it

We also still want to share your First Day Hike experiences. You can upload your photos and/or videos here with our uploader tool. Use #ARStateParks and #FirstDayHikes when sharing on social media too! 

Please note, a number of state parks have experienced high volumes of hikers on weekends since the onset of COVID-19. Please plan to recreate responsibly using the following reminders:

  • When the parking lot is full, the park is full. We encourage you to consider planning your hikes on less-visited trails or off-peak times of the day. Consider having a Plan B in place.  
  • Practice physical distancing. Keep 6’ distance from hikers who don’t live in your immediate household. 
  • Have masks with you and be prepared to wear them if you need to enter a park facility or can't distance when passing another hiker on the trail.  
  • Stay on designated trails. Shortcuts cause damage and are unsafe.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles
    "This year, we are excited to keep the spirit of First Day Hikes—encouraging park guests to be outdoors, kick-off new year healthy habits, and make memories—while keeping the safety of our guests and staff as a priority during the COVID-19 health emergency," said Arkansas State Parks Chief of Interpretation Kelly Farrell. "Hikers, we hope you have adventures on Jan., 1, 2, or 3, and that you also make plans for visiting parks throughout the whole year."

    Social Media User Generated Content (UGC) Policy: By submitting a video or photo to Arkansas State Parks (ASP), you authorize ASP to use and share your content on their official website as well as in all social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. You also grant permission for ASP to use all or parts of your video in edited videos.

    2021 First Day Hike Gallery

    Many thanks to everyone who joined us for a First Day Hike at an Arkansas state park! Check out the photos and if you would like to share yours, just make sure you use #FirstDayHikes and #ARStateParks so we can share too. Happy New Year!