A series of free guided hikes are scheduled for locations around Wyoming on New Year’s Day, including Curt Gowdy State Park near Laramie.
Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails is hosting outings at 16 sites as part of a national initiative called America’s State Parks First Day Hikes, which are set to take place in all 50 states.
At Curt Gowdy, a two-mile hike is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday on Kate’s Trail. Dogs on leashes are permitted, and daily-use fees will be waived. Hikers should meet at the visitor’s center.
Last year, more than 700 people hiked more than 1,700 miles around the state. The program is in its eighth year in Wyoming and attendance is growing.
“They’re really popular, especially during this time of year when people are traveling and they’re looking for something to do with friends and family,” said non-motorized trails coordinator Paul Gritten.
Gritten said First Day Hikes offer participants a way to start the New Year by spending time outside on state lands, which are open year-round.
“It’s a way for us to diversify our state parks and historic sites,” he said.
Hikers should dress for the weather, wear layers and bring water.
“A lot of times people are visiting from lower elevations, and they should take it easy, get acclimatized to our altitude and drink before you’re thirsty,” Gritten said.
Kate’s Trail is rated moderate in difficulty and includes stretches of pavement. Hikers wanting more of a challenge at Curt Gowdy will probably be able to find a state parks employee that can guide them, Gritten said.
“There’s usually some folks that are around, and if people are looking for something a little more technical, we’ll be willing to take them out for a longer hike,” he said.
Other sites with scheduled hikes are: Bear River State Park, Boysen State Park, Buffalo Bill State Park, Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park, Fort Bridger State Historic Site, Fort Fetterman State Historic Site, Fort Fred Steele State Historic Site, Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site, Guernsey State Park, Hot Springs State Park, Keyhole State Park, Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site, Sinks Canyon State Park, South Pass City State Historic Site and Trail End State Historic Site.
Nationwide, almost 55,000 people hiked more than 133,000 during hikes in all 50 states last year.