BALTIMORE COUNTY—The year 2020 not only marks a new year, but a new decade! Start off the decade strong by participating in the Maryland State Parks Department’s First Day Hike on January 1!

On Jan. 1, 2020, the Maryland Park Service will offer 40 guided hikes on 33 state lands and parks, as part of a nationwide event sponsored by America’s State Parks.

The earliest of the hikes starts at 8 a.m. while the latest has been planned to take advantage of year’s first sunset.

Among the new hikes planned are a “Year of the Woman” hike at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Dorchester County, and a First Day Birding Hike at Chapman State Park in Charles County.

These hikes will provide a variety of outdoor adventures and experiences for every level of hiker and walker, including unique access to Maryland’s cultural, historic natural resources and treasures, along with opportunities for education and stewardship. Many hikes are even pet-friendly.

Numerous parks, state forests, and wildlife management areas will also be open Jan. 1 for self-guided treks.

“There’s no better way to start 2020 than with an invigorating hike exploring Maryland’s beautiful public lands,” Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said.

“This growing tradition brings thousands of Marylanders together in resolution for better health and connection with our natural resources. There is a hike waiting for you in every corner of our state, for every ability and age.”

Among those hiking will be Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, continuing his commitment to visiting all Maryland state parks and other public lands by the time he leaves office. Lt. Gov. Rutherford began 2019 with a hike at Patapsco Valley State Park.

On New Year’s Day 2019, more than 3,700 people hiked 8,500 miles on 36 different First Day HIkes throughout Maryland — triple the previous year’s numbers.

There are several trails to venture throughout Baltimore County on Take a Hike day. These Hikes are all guided by crew members of the Maryland Conservation Corps.

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Gunpowder Falls State Park is having a First Day Bike event on the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail. People can strap on their hiking boots and grab their hikng poles and meet at 1302 Paper Mill Road, Cockeysville at 9:00 a.m.

This trail’s difficulty is rated at easy-to-moderate and is approximately 5 miles roundtrip, which should take the average person about 1.25 hours to complete.

Bicycles are not provided so people should bring your own-along with their helmets! Children under age 16 are welcome, however they are required to wear helmets.

Pre-registration is required for this bike ride and there are limited spaces available. People interested in participating should contact Ranger Nicole Staab at nicole.staab@maryland.gov for more information or to RSVP.

This bike ride will be led by crew members of the Maryland Conservation Corps. This First Day Bike Route will begin at the Paper Mill Parking Lot and will continue to the Phoenix Road Parking Lot and back. If the eater is bad this event will be canceled.

North Point State Park

The First Day Hike at North Point State Park is the perfect hike for the family.

Bird buffs are encouraged to bring binoculars for bird watching and other wildlife viewing opportunities. History gurus will also enjoy learning about the historic Bay Shore Amusement Park and even seeing the 1900’s trolley car powerhouse.

Participants are encouraged to bring a lunch to enjoy at the picnic area overlooking the Chesapeake Bay after the hike. Friendly, leashed dogs with hiking experience are welcome.

This trail not suited for strollers, but children are welcome.

People interested in attending should meet at 8400 North Point Road, Edgemere, MD at 9:00 a.m. on January 1. The meeting spot will be in Parking Lot A (just beyond the Contact Station to the left).

This is an easy hike for families and is approximately 2-miles roundtrip, which should take the average person about 1.5 hours to complete.

It is recommended that people dress for the weather and bring water. Water-resistant boots are highly recommended as well.

Pre-registration is recommended, but not mandatory. Contact Ranger Nicole Staab at nicole.staab@maryland.gov for more information or to RSVP.

Patapsco Valley State Park

The Cascade Falls First Day Hike is a great hike for those who just want to take a short stroll throughout nature- it’s onlt a half of a mile round trip.

Due to the nature of the Cascade Falls Trail, strollers are prohibited on this hike. The hike is no cost, but the park Service Charge of $2 per car is required at time of entry.

Pets are not permitted on this guided hike and the hike is “shine only” and will be canceled in event of rain or show.Baltimore County

People interested in participating should meet at Orange Grove Area of Patapsco Valley State Park, Cascade Falls Trailhead — 5120 South Street, Halethorpe. The hike starts at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 10:30 a.m.

Hikers will need to bring their own water, wear closed toed shoes appropriate for travel across all terrain (mud/water included) and dress appropriately for the weather.

Registration is required and will be limited to 40 participants. people can contact Park Headquarters at 410-461-5005 by 12/27/19 to register.