First Day Hikes are a New Year’s Day tradition. This info is for First Day Hikes taking place on New Year’s Day, 2021, in GA State Parks.
Good news! Because of limited capacity this year, some parks are offering hikes on January 2, 2021 as well. See below for details.
For more general info on free-and-cheap ways to enjoy Georgia State Parks, click here.
All across the state, park rangers are inviting Georgians to start the New Year with an energizing First Day Hike on New Year’s Day. At Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites, these guided treks are free or cheap — many cost just $5 for parking while others have a small fee on top of the parking charge. It’s a chance to put your best foot forward for the new year, by connecting with nature (and the friends or family members you hike with).
From the press release:
According to Georgia State Park rangers, winter’s landscape offers hikers the chance to see farther through the woods. Unique tree shapes, moss-covered boulders, small streams and wildlife are unobstructed by summer’s foliage.
Find a complete list of ranger-led hikes here, for Friday, January 1, 2021, across all of Georgia. (Scroll down to the bottom for a complete list of Georgia State Parks)
Want to take a First Day Hike on your own, without traveling to a Georgia State Park?
Two of our favorite walking trails in the metro Atlanta area are the Peachtree Creek Greenway and the loop around the lake at Murphey Candler Park.
You may also be interested in:
- NEW for 2020: World of Illumination drive-thru light show
- NEW! Festival of Lights drive-thru light show at Atlantic Station
- FREE: Prism Winter Lights display at Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta
- Lights of Life drive-thru holiday attraction in Marietta
- Discounts for Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens
- Discounts for Stone Mountain Christmas
- Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
First Day Hikes near Atlanta
To identify these hikes, we searched the GA State Parks events page for hikes taking place within a 70-mile radius of zip code 30303, which is downtown Atlanta.
If you’d like to search for a hike within a certain number of miles from you, click here.
NOTE: Please click thru for registration info, because ALL have limited capacity and require an RSVP this year. No one is accepting walk-ups.
For all hikes, please dress for the weather (layers are a good idea), wear good hiking shoes, and bring water and snacks.
Pets are not allowed.
Parking fees noted below apply to those who don’t have annual Park Pass.
First Day Hike at Hard Labor Creek
Hikes starting at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park, in Rutledge
$3 for the hike, plus $4 for parking
Scenic, two-mile hike along the creek. Recommended for active adults and kids over 8 years old.
This year, capacity is limited to just 10 people and pre-registration is required by 5 p.m. the day before.
Plan to arrive 15-20 minutes early, as participants will caravan to the starting point.
Call 706-557-3001 to register.
More info here
First Day Hike at Panola Mountain
Hikes starting at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park, Stockbridge
$10 for hike, plus $5 for parking
The hike is 3 miles up the mountain and moderately strenuous.
Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Call 770-389-7801 to register.
More info here
First Day Hike at Sweetwater Creek
Hikes at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs
$5 admission plus $5 for parking
A super-easy, half-mile hike on the Red Trail, including a rare opportunity to go inside the gated area that encloses the ruins of the old mill.
Call 770-732-5871 to register.
More info here
History Hike at Red Top Mountain
(Jan. 1st & 2nd)
Jan. 1st: Hikes at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.
Jan. 2nd: Hikes at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.
Red Top Mountain State Park, Acworth
FREE with $5 parking pass
Rangers will talk about the mountain’s iron mining history.
The walk is a 2-mile loop on moderate terrain and takes about 90 minutes.
Pre-register through Eventbrite
Etowah’s First Saturday Hike (Jan. 2nd)
Saturday, Jan. 2nd from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
The hike is FREE with the price of admission — which ranges from $2 to $6 for kids and adults.
Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site, Cartersville
This is a short 1.5-mile guided hike around and to the top of the mounds, with a talk about the history and nature of the site.
The climb is moderately strenuous.
Dress for wind. Bring binoculars for watching wildlife.
Call 770-387-3747 to register.
More info here
First Day Hike at Chattahoochee Bend State Park
9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
$5 admission, $5 parking fee
Chattahoochee Bend State Park, Newnan
This is a 2-mile hike on the Riverside Trail. It includes a snack.
Find a Georgia state park or historic site
You can find a Georgia state map of park locations by clicking here.
Here’s a list of our 50 state parks and 14 state historic sites.
State Parks, in alphabetical order — the parks nearest to Atlanta are in bold text
State historic sites
Chief Vann House
Dahlonega Gold Museum
Etowah Indian Mounds
Fort King George
Pickett’s Mill Battlefield
Roosevelt’s Little White House