First Day Hikes Return to Virginia State Parks with more Activities for All

Step into the new year with an outdoor adventure at any of the Virginia State Park locations. 

Inaugural First Day Hikes have become a tradition for many people, and it is the perfect opportunity to get some exercise, explore outdoors and connect with nature all while enjoying the park’s unique beauty this season.  

This year there are more than 1,000 hikes available in state parks around the country. The activities for First Day Hikes vary from park to park, but they all aim to create a fun experience for the whole family. Savor the beauty of the natural, cultural and historic, resources Virginia State Parks offer, and be inspired to take advantage of these local treasures throughout the year. 

Parking is free at all Virginia State Park locations on Jan. 1, 2024, and visitors to each park will receive a celebratory First Day Hike sticker while supplies last. 

Check out the full list of First Day Hikes at

Here are some locations to consider for your First Day Hike, within less than 100 miles of Highland County: 

West Virginia State Parks are also participating in first day hikes and have some close sites for Highlanders:

Or, just head out to the beautiful nature of Highland County for an unofficial family hike to enjoy the day. 

For adventure throughout 2024, the Highland County Public LIbrary has four nature-themed backpacks designed to help families explore nature and learn science concepts while visiting a Virginia State Park. The backpacks were provided to all Virginia libraries as a result of a collaborative project initiated by the Library of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Science Museum of Virginia, and the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences. Each backpack contains a free parking pass good at any Virginia State Park, a magnifying glass, a bug cage, a dip net, five pocket guides, and activity sheets. The library has four of these backpacks that are ready for check-out now. 

America’s State Parks hopes to make 2024 a record-breaking year as the annual event approaches major milestones, including inching closer to 1 million miles hiked and 500,000 participants in the program’s history. 

Story By


Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

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