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Kick-off the New Year with First Day Hikes at Saddleback Butte, Red Rock Canyon State Parks


December 21, 2019

Make a New Year’s resolution to your health and happiness by kicking off 2020 with an invigorating First Day Hike at Saddleback Butte State Park or Red Rock Canyon State Park on Jan. 1, 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 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.

“What better way to start out the New Year than by connecting with family and friends in nature?” said California State Parks Director Lisa Mangat. “With iconic landscapes, beautiful views and fresh air, hiking in our state parks is a perfect way to absorb the wonders of the outdoors and learn about California’s natural and cultural resources.”

At Saddleback Butte State Park, staff and volunteers will lead three hikes, which vary from an easy half-mile stroll to a strenuous five-mile hike up the butte. Check-in for all hikes is at the park’s Visitor Center, 17102 E. Ave. J, Lancaster (corner of 170th St. E and E. Ave. J, near Lake Los Angeles). Bring a lunch to enjoy in the park’s Picnic Area after returning from the hikes! Kids are welcome, but dogs are not allowed on trails in California State Parks (with the exception of trained service animals/no comfort animals). Visit for more information and updates.

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

Moderately strenuous. Five miles and about three hours roundtrip; 1,000 feet 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. – Loop Hike across the park

Easy to moderate. 3.3 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 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. The hike is a 1/2-mile loop with mild elevation gain, about 1 hour; wheelchair/stroller accessible.

A 9-mile, all-day hike will also be led at Red Rock Canyon State Park, 22 miles north of Mojave on Highway 14:

Meet at 9 a.m. at the dirt lot on the east side of Hwy 14, 3/4-mile north of Abbot Road, for a hike into Nightmare Gulch with a side trip into the well-hidden “Secret Silent City.” The strenuous route begins with a scramble over three ridges to enjoy the fabulous views, with an elevation gain/loss of approximately 3,000 feet. 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. Participants will be back by approximately 4 p.m. Only heavy rain will cancel. Visit for more information and updates.

Nation-wide information about First Day Hikes, their difficulty and length and tips can be found at 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. Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes.


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