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Start 2021 off on the right foot with a First Day Hike at a state park near you.

On Jan. 1, Montana State Parks will host First Day Hikes at Lone Pine State Park, Flathead Lake State Park (Wayfarers, West Shore or Big Arm units) Makoshika State Park, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, Cooney Reservoir State Park, Travelers’ Rest State Park and Bannack State Park. Being immersed in nature has never been more important for mental health and physical wellbeing. These fun and informative hikes are open to all ages and are family friendly. 

Montana State Parks First Day Hikes are available at:

Cooney Reservoir State Park – 1 p.m. (Roberts) Join Park Ranger Emily Tyler on a free guided hike on the newly rebuilt North Shore Trail at Cooney State Park. This approximately 1-mile, out-and-back hike is in the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains. It crosses several different biomes and goes through ravines with chokecherries and uphill to a stunning sagebrush steppe. Views from the top include the Beartooth Mountains, Cooney Reservoir and Red Lodge Creek. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this hike is limited to 10 participants, so please register to reserve a place. For more information and to register for this event, please call 406-252 1289 or email Ranger Emily Tyler at

Bannack State Park – 1 p.m. (Dillon) Join Bannack State Park interpretive staff on a unique tour of the streets of Bannack State Park, Montana’s first territorial capitol. Additionally, participants will tour the historic Hendrix Mill. As part of the hike, state park staff will be sharing stories about the significant history of the town and its impact on Montana and the region. For more information, please call the park visitor center at 406-834-3413. ​

Lone Pine State Park & Flathead Lake State Park (Wayfarers, West Shore or Big Arm units) – Jan. 1 -Jan. 31 Lead your park to victory while you work on your New Year’s resolutions during the Battle of the Boots: Lone Pine State Park vs. Flathead Lake State Park! In lieu of First Day hikes this year, state park staff invite you to hike the trails at Lone Pine State Park and Flathead Lake State Park’s Wayfarers, West Shore and Big Arm units. Every time you hike, log your miles at the trail head and help lead your park to victory. At the end of the month, the participant with the most miles from each park will receive a prize. The competition will kick-off on Jan. 1 and conclude on Jan. 31. For more information, please call 406- 755-2706 ext. 3

Makoshika State Park – 11 a.m. (Glendive) Makoshika State Park will be offering a guided hike on the Bluebird trail allows participants to see Makoshika State Park's unique badland topography. The hike is limited to fifteen participants. Participants can register by calling the park visitor center at (406) 377-6256.

First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park – 1 to 4 p.m. (Ulm)

The gates at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on New Year’s Day for people to come out and enjoy the park's 3-mile, self-guided trail. A ranger will be patrolling the trail between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. and can answer questions on the trail. For more information, please call 406-866-2217

Travelers’ Rest State Park – 10 a.m. to noon (Lolo/Missoula) The annual First Day Hike at Travelers' Rest State Park will be self-guided in 2021. On Jan. 1, stop by Travelers' Rest State Park between 10 a.m. and noon to take part in a self-guided walk along the main Lewis and Clark loop trail to discover winter animal adaptations. Along the way, interpretive signs will guide you and your family to look for special clues along the park trail. Take photographs of your family participating in the event and share one interesting thing you found along the park trails and email them to For more information, please call 406-273-4253.

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park - 12:30 p.m. (Whitehall/Three Forks) Join Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park staff to experience "The Off-Switch": A moderate guided hike to observe our most quiet season. When it seems, all life has been turned off in the park, a few animals not only persevere but thrive during the harsh winter months. This hike is available to a maximum of 10 participants. Attendees must call ahead to register. The details of the hike may change due to inclement weather. Please call 406-287-3541 to register or for more information.

Hikers should wear weather-appropriate clothing, bring a water bottle and ice cleats or snowshoes if the trail conditions are snowy or icy. First Day Hike participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes. For more information on these or other Montana State Parks, visit: Visitors to these events must keep in mind social distancing directives – stay 6 feet apart from all non-family members, and if that isn’t feasible or possible, please wear a mask or face covering. Additionally, if you’re feeling ill, please do not attend this event. For more information on COVID-19 in Montana, please visit:

"First Day Hikes" is an annual, nationwide special event co-sponsored by America's State Parks, which originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation – a state park in Milton, Mass. Last year, more than 33,000 people participated on guided hikes that covered more than 70,500 miles on 1,100 hikes across the country. All 50 states will be participating in the ninth annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with guided outdoor exploration.

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