First Day Hikes: Start 2024 on the Right Foot in Delaware

Join Delaware state parks for a mix of guided and self-guided first day hikes on January 1 to start the new year outdoors.

First day hikes are a national movement at state parks across the United States encouraging people to start the new year outdoors. Delaware is home to a wide variety of hiking trails ranging from easy paved walks to more rugged and lengthy state park excursions.

Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll with your furry friend or don your hiking boots and waterproof coats for a longer hike, here are a few options for first day hikes across the First State.

If you choose to participate in a self-guided hike on January 1, please check in at the state park’s welcome center to be counted in this nationwide event. 

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Alapocas Run 

Guided Hike | 10 a.m. – noon | Register Here

This is an easy/moderate guided stroll on a paved path. Pets are welcome but must be kept on a six-foot leash. This is a three-mile round-trip walk, and more information is provided upon registration.

Hidden Pond Trail at Brandywine Creek

Self-Guided & Guided Hikes | 1-3 p.m. | No Registration Required

Whether you want to explore the trail alone or meet the Naturalists at 1 p.m. for a guided walk, the Hidden Pond Trail is a great option. If you choose to go alone, check in at the Welcome Station outside the Nature Center any time between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Brandywine Zoo

Guided Zoo Tour | 10-10:45 a.m. or 11-11:45 a.m. | Register Here

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For something a little different, enjoy a guided tour of the Brandywine Zoo. As one of Delaware’s state parks, the zoo is a great spot to spend time outdoors without committing to a rugged trail. This free half-hour “hike” through the zoo is also a perfect educational experience for all ages.

Cape Henlopen

Self-Guided & Guided Hikes | 9-10:30 a.m.| Register Here

Hike the Point at Cape Henlopen with an expert guide to learn about the importance of the Point. If you choose a self-guided journey on a different Cape Henlopen trail, just stop by the Nature Center to get a map and park information.

Lums Pond

Guided Hike | 1-2:30 p.m. | No Registration Required

Enjoy a guided stroll around Lums Pond to start the year right. This guided loop touches on parts of the Swamp Forest Trail and the Little Jersey Trail. This moderate two-mile hike along the pond is an ideal afternoon walk for Bear or Middletown residents.

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White Clay Creek

Group Hike | 10-11:45 a.m. | No Registration Required

Meet White Clay Creek’s knowledgeable staff at the Nature Center at 10 a.m. for a group hike. This is an easy, flat two-mile loop that is stroller-friendly and pet-friendly. If you choose to bring a pet, they must be on a six-foot leash and comfortable in groups of people.

Related: How to Stay Active During the Winter in Delaware

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