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Arizona State Parks 

Jan. 1, 2014

Hike Into The New Year


December 15, 2013

Each year America's State Parks announces a national collaboration of all 50 State Park systems across America to sponsor guided "First Day Hikes" on New Year's Day. Arizona State Parks will charge day-use entrance fees only for the First Day Hikes at 13 different parks on Jan. 1, 2014.

According to State Parks Director Bryan Martyn, "We are committed to promoting outdoor recreation as a way to get families outside and unplugged from their video games and other electronic media. This is a great opportunity to take the family on an easy hike."

Arizona's "First Day Hikes" offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year re-energizing and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthful walk at one of these 13 State Parks. "These exhilarating hikes will get families in the swing of exercise and outdoor trekking for the upcoming year," said Martyn.

Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the Arizona State Parks Web site at or call (602) 542-4174. You can also keep up with new information about activities in Arizona State Parks through Facebook and Twitter at AZStateParks.

As a part of this program, the Arizona State Parks listed below will offer guided hikes on Jan. 1, 2014 so get out those boots and go hike!

For All Hikes

No matter where in Arizona you are hiking, wear warm clothes in layers, bring one liter of water, hat, sunscreen, good walking shoes, walking stick, binoculars and a camera for your hike.

There are always good photo opportunities on these hikes. Also, be sure to check with the park for details about the hike before you leave to be sure there are no changes to the hike for that day due to the weather.

Some hikes require reservations and some don't allow dogs. Children under six years old may need to be carried throughout the hike so plan to hike with backpacks.

Arizona State Parks In Northern Arizona

• Dead Horse Ranch SP (Cottonwood): 10 am. Meet at west lagoon parking lot. The hike will last about 2 hours and cover about 3 miles. Hikers will meander along the Verde River riparian area as well as the three lagoons on the park.

• Red Rock SP (Sedona): 9 am, 10 am, and 2 pm - Meet at Visitor Center. No dogs allowed. Enjoy a 1.5- hour interpretive naturalist-led hike about either birds, nature or geology of the area.

• Tonto Natural Bridge SP (Payson): 10 am and 1 pm - The hike will proceed to the Gowan Trail to the observation desk under the natural bridge. It will last about 2 hours even though it is only ½ mile. The trail is steep and requires steps. No pets or strollers on the hikes. Afterward a guided tour of the historic lodge will be offered. Call (928) 476-2261 for more information.

Arizona State Parks in Southern Arizona

• Catalina SP (Tucson): 8 am and 10 am - For the 8 am hike, meet at main trailhead for the long 7-mile loop hike or take the one mile Romero Ruins Adventure Walk at 10 am.

• Kartchner Caverns SP (Benson): 9 am - Meet at the Discovery Center to take the 2-hour long 2.5-mile Foothills Loop Trail. Hike will include discussion of plant life, geology, and hydrology.

• Patagonia Lake SP (Patagonia): 9 am - Meet at Visitor Center to take the 2.5-mile Overlook Hike with a great view of the lake or the 3-mile Petroglyph Site Hike across the lake with some rock scrambling included!! Both hikes start at 9am. Call (520) 287-2791 to register.

• Roper Lake SP (Safford): 10 am - Meet at hot tub parking lot. Length of hike is 1.5 miles. Hike will take place along the Mariah Mesa Trail.

Arizona State Parks in Western Arizona

• Alamo Lake SP (Wenden): 9 am - Meet at Ranger Station/Store. Moderate hike for ages 10 and up and plan to hike about a mile. The hike will showcase plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert.

• Buckskin Mountain SP (Parker): 10 am - Meet at the contact station for a 1.5-mile hike of moderate difficulty.

• Cattail Cove SP (Lake Havasu City): 9 am - Hike along Whyte's Retreat Trail. There are stairs on the 2-mile hike. Learn natural history and the history of Lake Havasu and the Parker Dam.

• Lake Havasu SP (Lake Havasu City): 10 am - Hike starts from the trailhead in lot #2 and through the Cactus Garden with scenic views along the lake.

Arizona State Parks in Central Arizona

START WITH A HIKE -- Arizona State Parks invites you to hike into the New Year with a "First-Day Hike." Parks throughout the state are participating, including Picacho Peak State Park (shown here). If you choose Picacho, meet at Sunset Vista Trail Head at 10 a.m. for a three-mile hike. This two-hour hike will take you along the western side of Picacho Peak.

• Lost Dutchman SP (Apache Junction): 9 am - Join us for a ranger-led hike starting at the Siphon Draw Trailhead to the Jacobs Crosscut intersection and finally to the Treasure Loop Trail. Some hikers wanting a more challenging hike will be able to take the Jacob Crosscut Trail with hiking leaders. Learn about desert flora and fauna and the history of Superstition Mountains and the Lost Dutchman Mine. This is a moderate hike with an elevation gain of 500 feet, is a 2.5-mile round trip, and will take about 2 hours. In case of rain, this hike will be cancelled.

• Picacho Peak SP (Picacho): 10 am - Meet at Sunset Vista Trail Head for a 3-mile hike. The 2-hour hike will take you along the Western side of Picacho Peak.

For information about all 27 Arizona State Parks, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area, call toll-free (800) 285-3703).

Campsite reservations can be made online at or by calling the Reservation Call Center at (520) 586-2283. Open 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST.


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