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  • Matthew Chebatoris

Kick-Off 2023 in the Outdoors With an Annual First Day Hike


More than 50 Hikes Taking Place Across California’s State Park System


California State Parks is inviting Californians to kick-start the new year in a healthy way by getting some fresh air and enjoying the outdoors with an annual First Day Hike. More than 50 state parks will be participating with over 50 guided hikes taking place across the state. Whether walking among giant sequoias or along the state’s coastal beaches or enjoying some wildlife viewing—California has some of the most unique and iconic parks in the country for everyone to explore.

First Day Hikes is a national-led effort that encourages individuals and families to experience, with a seasoned guide, the beautiful natural and cultural resources found in the outdoors so they may be inspired to take advantage of these treasures throughout the year and an individual’s lifetime. Distance and rigor will vary per hike or activity, so visitors are encouraged to check out details of start times and description of hikes.


Some of the participating parks for this year include:

  • Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Starting at Whaler’s Cabin, walk along the Granite Point Trail toward Granite Point, passing beautiful Whaler’s Cove, iconic Coal Chute Point and the Pit, and finally to the destination of Granite Point.

  • Ocotillo Wells SVRA: Vistors can come in their 4x4 capable vehicle at the Discovery Center for a quick tour of the western portion of the park. Explore ancient seashore, mesquite dunes, and desert washes. See interesting geology, desert plants, signs of wildlife, and maybe even some wildflowers. The route will consist of a roughly 20-mile loop, arriving back at the Discovery Center at its conclusion.

  • Mount Tamalpais State Park: This afternoon hike will refresh and inspire participants with some of the variety of habitats found on Mount Tamalpais -- and some uniquely Californian beauty.

  • Calaveras Big Trees State Park: Learn about giant sequoia trees and the winter season and hike a section of the 1.7 North Grove Trail.

  • Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park: This is a one-hour meditation/hike where participants are invited to get barefoot to connect to the earth and the trees. A ranger will go over some techniques to connect to the trees, and lead a short, guided meditation. Participants will then have a chance to walk the 1/2 mile trail on their own with or without shoes to practice the healing techniques they learned together. This is a half mile hike.

For a list of hikes and to find the participating park units, please visit parks.ca.gov/FirstDayHikes2023. The webpage is being updated regularly with new hiking opportunities.


Before heading to the hikes, visitors are invited to download the California State Parks mobile app, which allows users to download the park unit maps and get up-to-date information on any trail closures and events. First Day Hike participants will also be able to join virtually with the check-in challenge, post their progress and share photos along their way. Powered by OuterSpatial, the app has hike information, route details and more. Visitors can download the app here.


Whether an experienced outdoor enthusiast or a new one, State Parks looks forward to seeing Californians on trails, beaches, mountains and the deserts but asks for all to recreate responsibly --

  • Know Before You Go – Prior to leaving home, check the status of the park unit you want to visit to find out what restrictions and guidelines are in place. Have a back-up plan in case your destination is crowded. Stay home if you are sick.

  • Play It Safe – Find out what precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors, especially if this is your first time visiting the State Park System. For example, make sure to dress in layers, bring plenty of snacks and water, and wear appropriate hiking shoes.

  • Leave No Trace – Leave areas better than how you found them by staying on designated trails and packing out all trash. Do not disturb wildlife or plants.

For more safety tips, please visit parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.

Visitors are encouraged to share their experiences on social media using the hashtags: #HikeInto2023, #FirstDayHikes, #HikeWithCAStateParks and #CAStateParks.

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