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Celebrate the New Year with 'First Day Hikes'

City of Tehachapi

 

Rejuvenate by taking a family friendly trek through a state park close to home.

California State Parks will sponsor free guided hikes at Saddleback Butte State Park and Red Rock Canyon State Park on New Year's Day, as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states. America's State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on Jan. 1, 2017 at a state park. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.

"Last year, we hosted 41,000 people who hiked 79,442 miles in our state parks across the country when we launched America's State Parks First Day Hikes," said Priscilla Geigis, President of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). "Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle, for the whole family. Whether you're staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America's State Parks on New Year's Day."

"Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit." stated Lewis Ledford, NASPD's Executive Director. "We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual's or family's regular exercise routine."

Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America's State Parks website. Visit http://www.naspd.org and click on your state of interest to find a First Day Hike nearest you.

America's State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. From California to Maine, hikers can climb hills and mountain tops, walk along ponds and beaches, and traverse trails through forests, fields and prairies. Visitors can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air, discover wildlife tracks, and feel the wind and the warmth of the sun or the coldness of the snow. Visitors can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, experience spectacular views and vistas and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable state park guide.

At Saddleback Butte State Park, staff and volunteers will lead the hikes which vary from an easy half mile to a strenuous five mile hike up the butte. Check in for all hikes at the park Visitor Center, 17102 East Avenue J, Lancaster (corner of 170th St E and East Avenue J, near Lake Los Angeles). Kids are welcome, but dogs are not allowed on trails in California State Parks. Bring a lunch to enjoy in the park's Picnic Area after returning from the hikes!  Fundraising activities will also be offered to benefit the Support Saddleback Committee (cash or checks only). Visit http://www.Facebook.com/SaddlebackButte for more information and updates.

9 a.m. – Hike to top of Saddleback Butte

Moderately strenuous. Five miles and about three hours roundtrip; 1000 ft of elevation gain to an incredible view across the Mojave Desert.  Bring water and wear good hiking shoes and layered clothing; it can be very windy at the top. 

10 a.m. - Hike across the park

Easy to moderate.  4.3 miles with little elevation gain; about 1 ¾ hours.   Dress for the weather; bring water and hat, walking sticks are optional. Enjoy the beautiful high desert views over the Antelope Valley; this is a great winter's hike. 

11 a.m. - Dowen Nature Trail

Easy.  Ranger-lead interpretive tour along the nature trail.  Learn about the unique natural and cultural history of the local area. 1/2 mile loop with mild elevation gain, about 1 hour; wheelchair/stroller accessible. 

An all-day hike will also be led at Red Rock Canyon State Park, 22 miles north of Mojave on Highway 14:

9:00 a.m. - Red Rock Canyon State Park, meet at dirt lot on East side of Hwy 14, 3/4 mile north of Abbot Road.

A 9 mile, all day hike into Nightmare Gulch with a side trip into the well-hidden "Secret Silent City"; participants will be back by approximately 4 p.m. The strenuous route option begins with a scramble over three ridges to enjoy the fabulous views, with an elevation gain/loss of approximately 3000'.  A moderately strenuous alternate route along dirt roads below the ridges is also offered, with gain/loss of 1000 ft. This hike is not for beginners, and dogs are not allowed on this guided hike; no exceptions. Wear layered clothing and bring plenty of water and snacks/lunch; hikers are responsible for their own health and safety. Only heavy rain will cancel. Visit http://www.Facebook.com/RedRockCanyonStatePark for more information and updates.

Nation-wide information about First Day Hikes offered, their difficulty and length, and tips regarding proper clothing can be found at http://www.naspd.org. America's State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.

The mission of the NASPD and America's State Parks is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation's environment, heritage, health and economy.

 
 

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