6 state parks offer guided hikes on Jan. 1

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On New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, Montana State Parks will host First Day Hikes at six parks.

The guided, family friendly hikes will be offered at: Makoshika, First Peoples Buffalo Jump, Lake Elmo, Lone Pine, Travelers’ Rest and Missouri Headwaters state parks. Here are more details: 

Lake Elmo State Park – 9 a.m. (Billings) An easy 1.5-mile hike will explore the heart of Billings. Participants will meet in the FWP Region 5 Headquarters parking lot. For more information phone 671-5090.

Makoshika State Park – 11 a.m. (Glendive) Meet at the visitor center for this moderate 1-mile hike to introduce participants to Makoshika’s badland topography. Refreshments provided following the hike. No dogs, please. For more information, contact 406-377-6256.

Missouri Headwaters State Park – 11 a.m. (Three Forks) A moderate 3-mile hike starting at the park’s Main Picnic grounds by the Gallatin River. The hike will feature a tour of Fort Rock, where participants will be treated to views of the rivers and the mountains surrounding the Gallatin Valley. Hot chocolate and toasted bagels will be provided while you warm up next to a campfire. No dogs, please. For more information phone 406-285-3610

First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park – 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. (Ulm) A moderate 3.5-mile hike will explore the history of the jump as well as how the First Peoples survived on the landscape during winter. Space on the hike is limited to 25 participants. No dogs, please. For more information, or to reserve a spot, call 406-866-2217.

Travelers’ Rest State Park – 11 a.m.-noon (Lolo/Missoula) A 1-mile walk in the footsteps of history along the park trails will also highlight why wildlife call the Lolo Creek riparian area home and how they survive the cold winter months. The hike begins and ends at the the visitor center. Join participants for hot chocolate and a winter ecology game after the hike. No dogs, please. For more information call 406-273-4253.

Lone Pine State Park – 3 p.m. (Kalispell) A 1.5-mile hike on the Bearly There and Cliff trails will focus on wildlife tracking and winter ecology. It will begin and end at the park picnic shelter. Headlamps or flashlights are recommended. Dogs are welcome on leash. To register call 406-755-2706 ext. 3.

Hikers should wear weather-appropriate clothing, bring a water bottle and ice cleats or snowshoes if the trail conditions are snowy or icy. First Day Hike participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes. For more information on these or other Montana state parks visit: stateparks.mt.gov.

“First Day Hikes” is an annual, nationwide special event co-sponsored by America’s State Parks which originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation — a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. Last year, more than 33,000 people participated on guided hikes that covered over 70,500 miles on 1,100 hikes across the country. All 50 states will be participating in the eighth annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with guided outdoor exploration.

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