First Day Hike 2020 Start the New Year off on the right foot by participating in a First Day Hike at Natural Tunnel State Park. For seven years now, state parks across the country ring in the New Year by offering hikes to get visitors outside and on the trails. First Day Hikes are a great way to kickoff that New Year’s resolution or an incentive to visit a new park or hike a new trail. To commemorate the start of a new decade, Natural Tunnel will have four ranger-led hikes to choose from. Each hike offers unique views, range from easy to difficult, and are for both the young and young at heart. Spend the first day of 2020 at Natural Tunnel State Park. There will be free admission to the park and a collectable bumper sticker will be given to the first 100 hikers. The best way to obtain a sticker will be by attending a ranger-led hike.

6:45 a.m. – Sunrise Hike. Catch the first sunrise of 2020. Join the interpreter on a guided hike to the gazebo, just as dawn breaks. This trail is a moderate 1.2 mile roundtrip. Meet at the Blockhouse Parking Lot.

10 a.m. – Purchase Ridge Hike. Enjoy a hike to the Purchase Ridge overlook. This moderate trail will meander through the woods, with the opportunity to spot wildlife. At the overlook, enjoy a view of the tunnel from a distance. This trail is a moderate, 4 mile roundtrip. Meet at the Visitor Center.

1:00 p.m. – Tunnel Trek. Enjoy a guided hike down the Tunnel Trail to the mouth of the Tunnel, viewing the geologic phenomenon in person. Tunnel Trail: strenuous 0.5 miles round trip. Meet at the Visitor Center.

3 p.m. – Hike for the Tykes. Families will have the chance to take a gawk in the woods during this scavenger hunt themed hike. Ideal for children ages 3-10. This trail will be moderate and 1/2 mile roundtrip. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Wear comfortable shoes, and bring water for guided hikes.

Can’t make it to a ranger-led hike? Stop by the Visitor Center and pick up a self-guided brochure and discover the common trees of the park on an easy 1-mile hike.

Once again, we are adding our Virginia State Parks spin to the First Day Hikes by offering two contests with great prizes.

 New Year Challenge

To participate in this contest, you need to “Resolve” or “Pledge” to participate using this link: https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/other/1st-day-hikes.  You must do this before midnight on Dec. 31 to participate in the contest. After you visit the park on Jan. 1, you will need to enter the fact that you completed the Challenge before midnight on Jan. 1. You go back to the same web page to register your participation. Prizes will be awarded based on a drawing of folks who complete the Challenge. It’s not every year you can make and complete a New Year’s Resolution on the first day of the year.

Photo Contest

Take a photo on Jan. 1 at one of our Virginia State Parks and upload the photo to the contest site(http://2020firstdayhike.hscampaigns.com/) before 11:59 p.m. ET on Jan. 1. You can enter up to 3 photos and must abide by the rules of the contest.

The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation        and Recreation.

For more information about Virginia State Parks’ activities and amenities, or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.