Ever take a nice, long, relaxing walk through a Michigan state park?

How about in the middle of winter?

Join the Michigan DNR for a free guided hike this January.

The Department of Natural Resources will sponsor free, guided hikes in Michigan state parks in early January as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states.

“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks," said DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson. "First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the new year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks.”

“Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit,” said Lewis Ledford, executive director of the National Association of State Park Directors. “We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual’s or family’s regular exercise routine.”

First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state parks. Last year marked the first time all 50 state park systems joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes.

Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which average 1 to 2 miles or longer depending on the state park.

Michigan times and locations are:

  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Ontonagon County): Dec. 31, 6 p.m. 
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County): Jan. 1, 11 a.m.
  • Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County), Jan. 1, 10 a.m.
  • Mitchell State Park (Wexford County): Jan. 2, 1 p.m.
  • Bay City State Recreation Area (Bay County): Jan. 3, 10:30 a.m.
  • Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County): Jan. 3, noon
  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Ontonagon County): Jan. 3, 1 p.m.
  • Ludington State Park (Mason County): Jan. 3, 6 p.m.
  • Sterling State Park (Monroe County): Jan. 4, 1 p.m.