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Marylanders Kick Off 2022 with First Day Hikes

New Year’s Weekend Hikers Brave Rainy Conditions

Photo of hikers on a road, heading into the woods

Hikers at Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area  head into the woods on Jan. 1, 2022. Maryland DNR photo.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates that about 3,000 visitors took part in First Day Hikes in Maryland State Parks during the three-day period from December 31, 2021 through January 2, 2022. 

More than 350 people self-reported that they hiked 1,223 miles in our state parks during the three-day weekend, in addition to 487 people that took part in ranger-led hikes, and 2,135 hikers who enjoyed self-guided options. 

Rainy conditions may have dampened some attendance this year, but generally warmer temperatures through most of Maryland still provided plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun on the state’s public lands.

Maryland DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio joined staff and visitors for a hike at Tuckahoe State Park

“Tuckahoe State Park is one of our many treasures of natural and historic significance offering a tremendous location to start the new year,” Secretary Riccio said. “We are pleased to see so many people continuing to enjoy the growing tradition of First Day Hikes, and I hope everyone joins us for more outdoor activities throughout 2022.”

Last year, DNR estimated that 16,237 visitors took part in First Day Hikes in Maryland State Parks during the three-day period from January 1-3, 2021. Crowd estimates the past two years include self-guided hikers reporting their attendance and mileage hiked using an online form on the DNR website, an innovation developed during the height of the pandemic. 

Dozens of hikers also left comments about their experience – a few of the remarks include:

“Well marked! Relatively easy. Had me huffing and puffing on the early leg. But a very nice walk.” – Gunpowder State Park

“Our 3 children were ages 3-8. Great view. Fun hike!” – South Mountain State Park

“We loved it – King and Queen Seat never gets old.” – Rocks State Park

“First time out in a while – loved it!” – Greenbrier State Park

“We’re new residents of the state and loved our first visit to a MD state park!” – Gambrill State Park

“Lots of people out enjoying the beautiful sunset over Clopper Lake.” – Seneca Creek State Park

“Loved every moment!” – Assateague State Park

“We call it the Maryland Challenge, 15 years in a row we’ve done some to all of (the Appalachian Trail) in MD.” – Washington Monument State Park

“Wet day but lovely hike!” – Calvert Cliffs State Park

“Terrific walk, despite the weather. We look forward to going back when there is no fog and we can actually see the water.” – Wye River Natural Resources Management Area

“First time visiting – loved it! Also first time doing First Day Hike – such an awesome idea to start out the year with a hike.” – Patuxent River State Park

“It was a rainy, misty, foggy day but boy did I have fun!” – Janes Island and Pocomoke State Parks

“Thank you for the First Day Hikes, – they inspire me to keep hiking! – Elk Neck State Park