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First Week Hikes 2021

January 1-8, 2021
First Week Hikes

DCR First Week Hikes

DCR invites you to step into the New Year with a First Week Hike, a COVID-19 alternative to our traditional First Day Hikes, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2021!

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 30 years of this tradition in Massachusetts.  It also marks the tenth year that all 50 states have adopted this happy, healthy start to the new year!   

To keep everyone safe during the pandemic, DCR has announced important changes to this new year’s tradition, including:

  • Extending the traditional one-day hike to any day during First Week 2021, to prevent over-crowding due to COVID-19,
  • Introducing self-guided adventures to ensure safe social distancing—DCR has 150 state parks and thousands of miles of trails:
  • Picking a park near you to keep it safe and local,
  • If you can’t get to a state park or have limited abilities, try getting out of doors each day of First Week 2021 for fresh air and movement right where you live—to build a healthy habit this the New Year,
  • Sharing your DCR state park adventure on Instagram and twitter @MassDCR #MAFirstWeekHikes

Additional changes include:

  • DCR visitor centers and rest rooms may be closed due to COVID-19,
  • Hospitality options such as hot chocolate offered in prior years will not be available due to COVID-19,
  • No guided hikes are offered or allowed to prevent clustering of visitors, and
  • Masks or facial coverings will be required at all times in all state parks.

Table of Contents

Know before you go

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:
  • Remember visitor centers and rest rooms may be closed, so plan your hike accordingly.

Upon Arriving at the Park

Be flexible and courteous.  Park only in designated areas.  Please do not park on the road, in fields not designated for parking, or on neighbors' properties.  If the parking lot is full, please come back another time.

Be COVID-19 Safe to Protect Yourself, Other Visitors and Park Staff 

  • Stay home if you are not feeling well.
  • Wear a mask or facial covering at all times, covering both your nose and mouth—they are required at all state parks.
  • Practice social distancing of at least 6 feet.    
  • Gather and hike with the members of your household only. 
  • Share the trails: Announce your presence as you approach, step aside to allow space for others to safely pass on the trail.
  • Carry and use hand sanitizer before and after touching shared surfaces.   
  • Carry out all trash and belongings you carry in—including pet waste. 



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Date published: December 30, 2020
Last updated: December 30, 2020