Central Oregon DailyOregon State Parks free guided 1st Day Hikes happening Sunday

Oregon State Parks free guided 1st Day Hikes happening Sunday

Oregon State Parks free guided 1st Day Hikes happening Sunday

Oregon State Parks free guided 1st Day Hikes happening Sunday

Oregon State Parks is hosting free guided First Day Hikes on Sunday, Jan. 1, led by park rangers led by rangers and volunteers. Among those parks participating are Smith Rock, Tumalo, La Pine and The Cove Palisades.

The $5 day-use parking fee is waived on Jan. 1 for all state parks that require a parking permit and are open. For some of these hikes, you must register in advance.

Here is what to expect at each of the parks:

Smith Rock State Park

  • The 3-mile hike begins along the rim of the canyon with fantastic views of the rock walls and the Crooked River meandering below. When the hike drops into the canyon, look for a nesting bald eagle pair. Hikers could also see rock climbers on the wall along the Canyon Trail and, with luck, a golden eagle may be surveying the nesting grounds along the Homestead Trail.
  • Registration is required.
  • The hike starts at 9 a.m. and begins at the Welcome Center Yurt.
  • The trail conditions are gravel and dirt with an elevation gain of 200 feet.  Not recommended for baby strollers.
  • Dogs are welcome on six-foot leashes.
  • Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes appropriate for ice and show, and bring water and snacks, as well as a camera or binoculars for wildlife viewing.
  • For more information, call 541-548-7501 ext. 1.

Tumalo State Park

  • The 6-mile out-and-back hike is on the Deschutes River Trail, a popular spot for hiking, running and walking. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit in any season. Dogs are not allowed on the trail when it enters the Riley Ranch Nature Preserve.
  • The hike starts at 1 p.m. and begins in the day-use area near the parking fee machine. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in and to see some artifacts.
  • Considered a moderately challenging route, the hike takes an average of 2 hours 25 minutes to complete. Be prepared for snow or icy conditions.
  • Suggested age for children is 8 and above. Dogs are welcome on six-foot leashes until the trail enters the nature preserve. You will need to turn around at that point.
  • Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and snacks, as well as a camera or binoculars for wildlife viewing.
  • Contact the park office at 541-388-6055 for more information.

La Pine State Park

  • The 3-mile hike is on the Cougar Woods Trail and offers views of the Deschutes River and possible wildlife.
  • Registration is required.
  • The hike starts at 10 a.m. and begins at the Cougar Woods Trailhead.
  • The hike is on a dirt trail with minimal elevation gain. Possible ice and snow may limit accessibility on the day of the hike.
  • Baby strollers are not recommended because of the snow or ice. Dogs are welcome on six-foot leashes.
  • Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and snacks, as well as a camera or binoculars for wildlife viewing.

The Cove Palisades

  • Learn about the animals, geology and unique history of the park on the 1.5-mile Rim Trail hike. Refreshments and a warming fire will be ready for at the end of the hike.
  • The hike starts at 1 p.m. and begins at the Crooked River Campground boat trailer parking lot.
  • An easy to medium challenging hike on uneven surfaces and up to a 15% grade in one area. May not be appropriate for visitors with breathing or mobility challenges or baby strollers
  • Dogs are welcome on six-foot leashes.
  • Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and snacks, as well as a camera or binoculars for wildlife viewing.
  • Contact 541-546-3412 for more information.

Share photos of First Day Hikes via social media by using the hashtag #ORfirstdayhikes.

First Day Hikes is a national initiative to welcome the coming year in the outdoors, promote exercise and encourage connecting with nature. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has participated since 2012.

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