Georgia’s state parks to host ‘first day’ hikes to kick off 2020

Looking to start the decade off on the right foot? Head to a state park near you for a hike

Hike these 5 beginner-friendly waterfall trails in North Georgia. Video produced by Fiza Pirani/AJC.

First comes the holiday snacking, then comes the New Year's resolutions.

If you’re already eyeing a new you in 2020, you can kick off the new decade with a hike at one of Georgia’s 48 state parks.

On New Year’s Day, there will be “first day hikes” and other activities taking place at many of the state parks and historic sites across Georgia.

The events in Georgia are part of a larger nationwide effort led by America's State Parks alliance to get people out into nature for guided hikes and activities on Jan. 1.

“So many studies have shown that spending time outside, in nature, is good for our well being. Going for a hike is not only good for your heart, it’s good for your soul,” said Kim Hatcher, a Georgia State Parks spokeswoman. “And with many people making New Year’s resolutions to improve their health or find more calm in their lives, First Day Hikes are the perfect way to begin.”

Whether you’re looking to sweat off a hangover, start your resolutions off strong or just a family friendly outing, there are plenty of ways to start 2020 off on the right foot.

Here are some of the events being held. For more, visit
First Day Hike
Time: 9 a.m.-noon
Location: Panola Mountain State Park, Stockbridge
Price: $10 admission, $5 parking
Take a trek to the top of the park's mountain. There will be an activity to write down, then burn the burdens of 2019. Top off the hike with s'mores and hot chocolate. This event is for ages 10 and up. Hikes will be held hourly.

First Day Hike to Capture the Beauty of Sweetwater
Time: 10-11:30 a.m
Location: Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs
Price: $6 admission, $5 parking
The mile-long hike offers a chance to see the scenic highlights of the park. Visitors are encouraged to bring a camera and a sketch pad. Basic sketching materials will be provided if you need them.

First Day Sensory Hike
Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Location: Indian Springs State Park, Flovilla
Price: $5 parking fee
Step into 2020 by appreciating the world around you. This family and pet friendly hike is meant to "slow down and connect with our environment using all our senses," according to the DNR.

Traditional Plant ID; First Day Hike
Time: 1-3 p.m.
Location: Red Top Mountain State Park, Acworth
Price: $5 parking fee
Start the new year with some new knowledge. In this ranger-lead hike, attendees will follow the Sweetgum Trail and identify trees, shrubs and plants.

Dog Creek Hike - First Day Hike
Time: 1-3 p.m.
Location: Don Carter State Park, Gainesville
Price: $5 admission, $5 parking fee
This hike will be along the Dog Creek outer loop, which is about 1.5 miles. Take in views of Lake Lanier and Dog Creek.

First Day Hike through the Piedmont Forest
Time: 2-3:30 p.m.
Location: Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs
Price: $5 admission, $5 parking fee
A ranger will lead this hike through the park's Piedmont forest. The hike will include identifying animals, birds, flowers and trees encountered along the way. It's open to everyone 6 years and older.