Celebrate the beginning of 2021 by taking the First Day Hikes Challenge at a Missouri state park or historic site from Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020 to Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

This is a great way for Missourians to spend the holiday weekend, start a new tradition, take advantage of physical exercise and enjoy the great outdoors.

In response to COVID-19 and to encourage social distancing and keep visitors safe, this year’s first day hikes will look slightly different than in the past. Participants are challenged to embark on a self-guided hike at a nearby state park or historic site.

Hikers can participate in the challenge by capturing their adventures with a selfie or photo at the trailhead and posting their photos or videos on social media using #MOFirstDayHikes. Once the hike is complete, participants should visit mostateparks.com/FirstDayHikes and enter for a chance to win a $25 Missouri State Parks gift card.

For more information and to view self-guided hiking opportunities at a nearby park or historic site, visit mostateparks.com/FirstDayHikes.

While participating in the First Day Hikes Challenge, participants are strongly encouraged to follow social-distancing guidelines and be proactive in protecting themselves and others amid ongoing public health concerns. Hikers should come prepared with hand sanitizer and bottled water, avoid large and congested crowds, consider hiking at less populated parks and sites, and stay home if sick. Face coverings are encouraged when social-distancing measures are difficult to maintain, and may be required by local orders.

In addition to the Missouri State Parks First Day Hikes Challenge, several state parks and sites are hosting special self-guided challenges or virtual hikes on their Facebook pages. For more information and a list of other hiking opportunities, visit mostateparks.com.

First Day Hikes are promoted by America’s State Parks. For more information on the national initiative, visit stateparks.org.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.