Usher in 2023 with other outdoor lovers at one of the many First Day Hikes offered Jan. 1 at Indiana’s state parks, forests, and lakes.

First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start 2023. They offer a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and connect with friends. Nearly all state parks and lakes, as well as some state forests, will offer hikes. Find one near you at

The hikes are organized by Indiana State Parks in cooperation with America’s State Parks. They will take place in all 50 states. First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was launched to foster healthy lifestyles and promote year-round recreation at state parks. For more information, visit America’s State Parks website at

In addition to the hikes, six Indiana state park inns and the Indiana Dunes Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park will be open for meals. 

The Garrison at Fort Harrison State Park will host a Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Indiana Dunes Pavilion will have brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Abe Martin Lodge at Brown County State Park, Canyon Inn at McCormick’s Creek State Park, Clifty Inn at Clifty Falls State Park, Potawatomi Inn at Pokagon State Park, and Turkey Run Inn at Turkey Run State Park will have breakfast beginning at 8 a.m. and brunch beginning at 10 a.m. More information can be found at

First Day hikes are listed below. More may be added, so check the website if your favorite place is not listed. Make sure to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes on all hikes and dress for the weather. 

  • Indiana Dunes State Park. Meet at the Nature Center for a 2-mile moderate to rugged loop along Trail 9 from 10 a.m. to noon CT. See the park landscapes and learn about park history. Enjoy snacks and a cozy campfire provided by the Friends of the Indiana Dunes. 
  • Mississinewa Lake. Meet at the Shelter House in Miami SRA at 4:30 p.m. for a 1-mile roundtrip, 1.5-hour easy hike to the campground pond. Walk the Frances Slocum Trail, which is newly paved, and see the beach at winter levels. Bring binoculars to watch for eagles. 
  • Pokagon State Park. Meet at the CCC Shelter at 2 p.m. for a 2.5-mile hike. A bonfire and refreshments will be available afterward. Park in the main beach parking lot or the lot by the basketball courts.
  • Potato Creek State Park. Meet at the Quaking Aspen parking lot at 2 p.m. for a 1-mile hike around Worster Lake. Bring binoculars to view eagles and other wildlife.
  • Tippecanoe River State Park. Meet at the fire tower parking lot at noon for this 1/2-mile hike, which will include a talk on the fire tower’s history.
  • Turkey Run State Park. Meet at the Nature Center at 11 a.m. for a guided hike through Rocky Hollow Nature Preserve. Learn about some of Turkey Run’s geology along the way on this 2-mile very rugged trail. Bring plenty of water. 

To view more DNR information, please see