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Hikers hit trails to mark new year

Hundreds of people statewide are set to head into the woods for a hike to start the new year.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is again sponsoring free, guided hikes in 39 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes event.

Canoe Creek and other local state parks are participating.

“We do it in all types of weather, mud, hail, rain, snow. It’s just a fun day with campfires and hikes to help get you off the sofa and work off holiday calories,” Canoe Creek park educator Heidi Mullendore said.

She said the event is designed for families. There will be fire rings and hot chocolate provided by the nonprofit Friends of Canoe Creek, who will also be collecting donations for the park.

The Canoe Creek event begins Jan. 1 at 1:30 p.m. and ends at 4 p.m.

Pennsylvania state park staff and volunteers lead the hikes, which are usually about 1 or 2 miles but can be longer depending on the park and its terrain.

Other area hikes include:

Shawnee

The first day hike at Shawnee State Park, Schellsburg, will begin at 11 a.m. on Felton Trail. This is a moderate 2-mile hike and is suitable for children 6 and older. Participants will meet at Pavilion 7 parking area.

Trough Creek

Staff from Trough Creek State Park in James Creek will lead participants on a moderate to difficult hike on Boulder Trail. The hike leaves from Pavilion 5 at

11 a.m. The Friends of Trough Creek/Warrior’s Path will be on hand with beverages and snacks for a donation.

Greenwood Furnace

One of the longest planned Jan. 1 hikes in the area will be at Greenwood Furnace State Park near Huntingdon. Starting at noon at the Visitor Center Park Office, the park’s fifth annual first day hike will follow the 5-mile Vista Loop on a combination of trails. The hike will cover about 1,000 feet of climb to the Stone Valley Vista. Portions of the trail are rocky and steep. Wearing layers is recommended. Approximate hiking time varies from two to four hours. The park will have a designated sweep to make sure everyone finishes.

Prince Gallitzin

The Deer Trail, a flat, 1-mile loop, will be the first day hike at Prince Gallitzin State Park in Patton. For those wanting more, a second hike along the Footprint Trail will follow. Leashed, well-behaved dogs are welcome.

The same hikes will be offered at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Participants will meet at the Point Trailhead, off of Beav­er Valley Road, just south of the Crooked Run Campground entrance.

Blue Knob

Hikers at Blue Knob State Park near Imler will meet at 8:30 a.m. at Blue Knob Ski Resort (near main entrance). Pets are permitted but must remain on leash.

Black Moshannon

Black Moshannon State Park, Philipsburg, is planning a pair of first day hikes. Participants will meet at

10 a.m. at the beach for a walk on the mostly flat Lake Loop Trail. The trail circles around the lake. Some rocks and roots go across the trail. At 1 p.m., the park plans a stroller-friendly half-mile hike on boardwalk for a Bog Treasures tour.

Bald Eagle

The naturalist at Bald Eagle State Park, Howard, will lead 2-mile hikes, rated moderate with a few hills along the way and a rocky trail in places. Both hikes at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. will follow the same route. Meet at the Environmental Learning Center, which will open 30 minutes before each hike.

For a complete list of New Year’s Day hikes, go to events.dcnr.pa.gov and click Jan. 1 on the calendar.

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