Start 2024 on the Right Foot with a First Day Hike

Colorado Parks and Wildlife invites all Coloradans to welcome the new year by heading outside!

By Kyrie Collins, Macaroni KID Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree Publisher December 17, 2023

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is pleased to welcome the new year by once again participating in First Day Hikes. Several events are scheduled in state parks across Colorado on New Year’s Day. 

The First Day Hikes initiative was created to offer everyone an opportunity to begin the new year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors at a state park close to home. The programs are free, but a vehicle day pass or state park annual pass is required to enter the park. Some hikes require advance registration.

Getting outside and unplugging from daily technology creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources in kids and adults alike.

Visitors to Colorado State Parks can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter and experience spectacular views and vistas. Guided hikes range from half-mile fun walks to lengthy and challenging hikes.

Whether you're planning to participate in a First Day Hike, reserve a campsite, or learn to fish, you can start your outdoor adventures by visiting

Please Remember: These hikes are very popular. If you sign up and can not make it, please be considerate and cancel your reservation to make room for others to attend.

Find a 2024 First Day Hike Near You!

Castlewood Canyon 2024 First Day Hikes
Start off the New Year with guided hikes through the park and free soup at the Event Facilities in the Canyon Point parking lot (soup served starting at 11:00 AM). The hikes are free with park admission, and registration is not required; hikes are limited to the first 15 people who arrive.

  • 9:00 AM - Lake Gulch to the Dam and back (2.5 miles)
  • 10:00 AM - Inner Canyon/Lake Gulch (2 miles)
  • 10:00 AM - Canyon View Nature Trail (2.2 miles)
  • 10:00 AM - Creek Bottom to the Dam and back (2.5 miles)

Chatfield 2024 First Day Hikes
Meet at the Plum Creek Nature Parking Lot for a leisurely 2-mile morning walk through the paved trail of Plum Creek Nature Area, with many opportunities for wildlife viewing as you loop through this natural area of the park. OR, meet at the Gravel Ponds Parking lot for a leisurely afternoon walk through the southern portion of Chatfield State Park. Listen to the ice move in surrounding ponds and admire the foothill views as you enjoy a 3-mile walk to the Blackbird Pond and back.

  • 10:00 AM - Plum Creek Nature Area
  • 1:00 PM - Cigar Pond Trail

Roxborough 2024 First Day Hikes
Volunteer guides will lead you on your first hike of the year through the beautiful Roxborough State Park, with three different hikes for three different skill levels. Registration is required.

  • 9:00 AM - Carpenter Peak (Recommended for ages 13+)
  • 10:00 AM - South Rim (Recommended for ages 13+)
  • 11:00 AM - Fountain Valley Trail (All Ages)

➡️ See a complete list of upcoming State Parks events.