FIRST DAY: Goose Creek State Park hosts New Year’s Day hike

Published 10:17 am Friday, December 29, 2017


A hike on New Year’s Day is becoming a statewide tradition.

State parks across North Carolina are hosting First Day Hikes–numbered among them is Goose Creek State Park. Hikers are asked to meet at 10 a.m. at the campground parker area trailhead, where the Goose Creek trail meets the Ivy Gut trail.

Park Ranger Candace Rose is leading the hike, one she said is growing in popularity.

“It’s a big deal in terms of all across North Carolina and nationwide,” Rose said. “It’s a great way to start out the new year and also start the 100 Mile Challenge that state parks are putting on.”

The 100 Mile Challenge is new program created to honor the centennial anniversary of North Carolina’s state parks, in which hikers can visit parks and track their hiking miles through

“You log in throughout the year to record how many miles you’ve hiked, and I think there will be special prizes for people depending on how many miles they hike,” Rose said. “They started it last year; they’re really promoting it more this year. I think it’s really just to get people out and visiting parks and to be active.”

Visitors can also pick up a free passport book to be stamped with each state park they’ve visited, and where they can keep track of their miles, as well.

“You’d be surprised how many people are getting out in parks now just to show that they’ve been there,” Rose said.

Last year’s hike drew a crowd of about 30 people, Rose said. It’s a small group compared to another state park that had more than 800 people turn out for the event, she said.

“We get a lot of repeat people who are making this a tradition for their family,” Rose said, adding that one family that attended managed to get to two First Day Hikes at separate parks on New Year’s Day 2016.

“With some good planning you can do more than one hike in a day,” Rose said.

ON THE TRAIL: First Day hikers in 2016 gathered for a group picture after their New Year’s Day hike at Goose Creek State Park. The annual event is an effort to get people out in nature and visiting state parks across the U.S. (Ranger Candace Rose)

The First Day Hike at Goose Creek State Park entails a 2-to-2 1/2-mile hike through the woods, to Flatty Creek and the saltwater marsh bordering the Pamlico River. Along the way, Rose said she hopes to encounter local wildlife: deer, foxes and more.

“You know, in the winter there’s not as much moving around, but I really hope we get to see some winter waterfowl on Flatty Creek,” she said.

Since it’s going to be cold on New Year’s Day, there will be an extra treat for First Day hikers: hot cocoa.

For more information, call 252-923-2191.