DCR First Day Hikes

DCR invites you to step into the New Year with a First Day Hike!

Massachusetts is known for starting revolutions, so on January 1, 1992 when 380 people gathered for the premier First Day Hike at the Blue Hills Reservation it is no surprise that this Massachusetts outdoor initiative swept the nation.  DCR celebrates over 30 years of this tradition in Massachusetts.  Today, all 50 states are offering First Day Hikes in state parks across the country!

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation invites you to join all 50 states on January 1, 2024 for a First Day Hike!    Check back in Decemebr 2023 for more information. In the meantime, check out DCR’s Self-Guided Suggested Hiking Guides at almost 70 facilities statewide! In 2023, we hope that you make state parks an important part of your exercise routine and your life.  Happy New Year!

Table of Contents

Know before you go

first day hikes

Whether you are a first-time visitor to a state park or a seasoned regular, DCR recommends visitors plan their hike before they leave home with these COVID-19 and winter hiking guidelines in mind:

  • Print or download a trail map at home.  Paper maps are no longer available at state parks due to COVID-19.  GPS signals may not available on smartphones in thickly-settled trails. 
  • Check the weather and dress for it.  Wear layers and sturdy footwear.  
  • Know the trail conditions.  Keep it short and safe.  Stay clear of icy trails—or be prepared with traction devices and hiking poles.   
  • Notify someone of your plans.
  • Be flexible—if the park is busy or weather becomes harsh, please come back later in the week.
  • Remember the sun sets early. Please be off the trails before sunset. Plan to be back at your car by 4:30 p.m. as it will be dark by then.
  • Know which parks are pet friendly:
    • Dogs are not permitted in DCR Water Supply Protection areas and several state parks.
    • Always keep your dog leashed.  Always pick up after your dog and dispose of waste properly.  For complete guidelines visit: https://www.mass.gov/guides/dogs-in-dcr-parks.
  • Remember visitor centers and rest rooms may be closed, so plan your hike accordingly.

Upon Arriving at the Park

children hikers
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well.
  • Share the trails: Announce your presence as you approach, step aside to allow space for others to safely pass on the trail.
  • Carry out all trash and belongings you carry in—including pet waste.


Check back in December 2023 for 2024 First Day Hikes.



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Main Office
251 Causeway Street
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Boston, MA 02114
Date published: November 30, 2021
Last updated: January 9, 2023

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