PLAINFIELD, NJ - Often, New Year's Eve gets all of the attention.  But Plainfield, do you know about First Day Hikes that take place each New Year's Day? 

Every Jan. 1, America's State Parks offer free and guided hiking events in every state across the U.S. It's a perfect way to introduce individuals and families to the outdoors, and to a healthy lifestyle.  (Hello, resolutions?)

There are a number of state parks in New Jersey offering a First Day Hike.  Some require pre-registration, but all are open to the public.  Here are a just a few that are closer to the Plainfield area:

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Historic Midtown Elizabeth, Who Knew? at Boxwood Hall Historic Site in Elizabeth, NJ, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.  Children are welcome on this easy 1.5 mile hike, but must be accompanied by an adult.  Service animals and socialized leashed dogs are also welcome.  The walk will be through the city; meet at First Presbyterian Church, 42 Broad Street.  The hike will be canceled if there is severe weather; call 732-388-4905 to confirm the event will run.

Highlights:

  • Stand where the name “New Jersey” was first used.
  • Visit a house where Washington, Hamilton and Lafayette visited.
  • Discover 300 years of architecture.
  • Explore a historic cemetery.
  • Learn about the famous, infamous & forgotten who called Elizabeth, NJ home.

To register, call 908-282-7617 or email elizabethfirstday17@gmail.com.

 

New Years Walk around the Reservoir at Round Valley Recreation Area in Lebanon, NJ, for an easy three mile hike from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Children are welcome.  Meet at Round Valley State Park, 1220 Stanton Lebanon Road, in the South Parking Lot (first right after the park office).  Bring your binoculars!

Call the park office at 908-236-6355 to register and for cancelation information.

Highlights:  Hike either the Cushetunk or Water Trail and look for signs of new life as the year begins.

 

Grover Cleveland’s Historical Visit & Hike at Grover Cleveland's Birthplace in Caldwell, NJ, for a one hour house tour from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and an easy two mile hike beginning at 12:00 p.m.  Children are welcome.  ADA accessible, and no restrooms are available at the historic house.  Meet at Grover Cleveland Birthplace, 207 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ, across from the Dunkin Donuts.

To check if the tour and/or hike is canceled due to extreme weather, call 908-619-6651 after 9:00 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Additional information: Visit the Grover Cleveland Birthplace and/or join the group for an easy to moderate walk. The route starts at the Birthplace, proceeds down to and around the Grover Cleveland County Park, then back to the Birthplace. The Birthplace will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. To register, call 973-226-0001 by Dec. 31.

 

For a full list of participating parks, check out the American State Parks website here.  If you're interested in something a little closer to home, try Watchung Reservation.  TAPinto Plainfield has often enjoyed the Sierra Trail, but no matter which hike you choose, just get outside, enjoy and celebrate the start of a healthy 2018.

Be sure to wear sturdy, waterproof footgear and bring water and snacks no matter which hike you choose.  Dress warm as the temps will be frigid, and wear layers in case you warm up as you walk.