First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors. On New Year’s Day, hundreds of free, guided hikes will be organized in all 50 states. Kids and adults all across America will be participating in First Day Hikes, getting their hearts pumping and enjoying the beauty of a state park. Last year nearly 28,000 people rang in the New Year, collectively hiking over 66,000 miles throughout the country!

First Day Hikes are led by knowledgeable state park staff and volunteers. The distance and rigor vary from park to park, but all hikes aim to create a fun experience for the whole family. People are invited to savor the beauty of the state park’s natural resources with the comfort of an experienced guide so they may be inspired to take advantage of these local treasures throughout the year. Learn more about the history of first day hikes, cold weather hiking, and America’s State Parks on the American Hiking Society website.

This year, the  Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites everyone to kick off the New Year with one of Maryland’s fastest-growing traditions – a First Day Hike.

On Jan. 1, 2019, the Maryland Park Service will offer more than three dozen hikes on more than 30 state lands and parks. Here’s a full list of Maryland State Park First Day Hikes .

Looking for something to do in the Patapsco Valley? Check out these hikes in our area:

Patapsco Valley State Park: Cascade Falls at Avalon

Baltimore County
Time of Event:
9:00 a.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at Shelter 106 in the Orange Grove Area
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
Length of Trail: The hike is about 2 miles, which will take approximately 2 hours.
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes (boots are preferred) appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking.
RSVP: Call Patapsco Valley State Park Headquarters at 410-461-5005 to RSVP.
Additional Information: Join the Maryland Conservation Corps as they lead you on a 2-mile, moderately difficult hike, with a few stream crossings and light rock scrambling on Cascade Falls Trail in the Orange Grove Area. Enjoy cascading waterfalls and winter hills and valleys. Afterward, warm up by the fire with hot coffee and cider at Shelter 106. Start your year off right with a first day hike!


Patapsco Valley State Park: Morning Start at McKeldin

Carroll County
Time of Event: 11:00 a.m.
Meeting Location: Meet at Shelter 501 at the McKeldin Area- 11676 Marriottsville Road
Marriottsville, MD 21104
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
Length of Trail: The hike is about 2.5 miles, which will take approximately 2 hours.
Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes (boots are preferred) appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking, and a camera (optional).
RSVP: Reservations are not necessary. Call Patapsco Valley State Park Headquarters at 410-461-5005 for any further questions!
Additional Information: Join Ranger Petrucci on New Year’s Day at the McKeldin Area of Patapsco Valley State Park for our annual First Day Hike! We will hike 2.5 miles, incorporating parts of the Spring Glen, Tall Poplar and Switchback Trails. Start off 2019 on a positive note, and join us for a morning of exercise in the great outdoors!


Patapsco Valley State Park: Old Mainline Trail at Daniels

Howard County
Time of Event: 2:00 PM
Meeting Location: Parking Lot near the Daniels Dam – 2090 Daniels Road. Ellicott City, MD 21043
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Length of Hike: 3 Miles
Things to Bring: Bring water, walking shoes, and seasonal clothing.
RSVP: Volunteer Ranger Max Buffington at maxbuffington@gmail.com
Additional Information: Join Volunteer Ranger Max Buffington on a hike along the old Mainline Trail and discover historic artifacts that are hidden in plain sight. Dogs on leash are welcome. Children should be over 10 years of age. No hike in inclement weather.


Catonsville Rails to Trails: Mural Hike

Baltimore County
Time of Event: 9:30 AM
Meeting Location:  Catonsville Junction 7-Eleven 1604 Edmondson Ave Catonsville, 21228

Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Length of Hike: 4 Miles
Things to Bring: Bring water, walking shoes, and seasonal clothing.
Additional Information: A narrated hike through Catonsville of all outdoor murals by local mural artist Edward Williams, free coffee and refreshments from 7-Eleven at the beginning of the hike, light refreshments from Umami at the end of the hike