Catalina State Park will host the First Day Hikes program on New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Day could be the perfect time to put that perennial “get more exercise” resolution into effect — by taking a hike at a nearby state park.

Arizona State Parks, along with other state park systems around the nation, is sponsoring a slate of guided “First Day Hikes,” including some near Tucson.

Sixty hikes and other activities will be offered Sunday, Jan. 1, at sites ranging from Catalina State Park north of Tucson to Homolovi State Park in northeastern Arizona.

“We welcome everyone to get outdoors on Arizona’s trails,” said Sue Black, executive director of Arizona State Parks. “There are hikes all over the state, from brisk hikes to casual walks in the parks. You’ll find one to meet your needs.”

There is no charge for the hikes, but regular park entrance fees will be in effect. Some hikes require reservations and some don’t allow dogs, so it’s a good idea to check the website — — in advance for information and directions for your chosen hike.


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Here are a few options at parks in Southern Arizona:

  • Catalina State Park — A six-mile loop hike begins at 8 a.m. at the main trailhead at the end of the park road. Register in advance by sending an email to before 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Include your full name and phone number.
  • Oracle State Park — A guided bird walk begins at 9 a.m. at the park near the town of Oracle. Participants will have an opportunity to see year-round and seasonal bird residents of the high desert oak grasslands on a walk lasting about 90 minutes.
  • Picacho Peak State Park — A moderate 1.4-mile hike along the Calloway Trail begins at 10 a.m. at the park along Interstate 10 northwest of Tucson. Meet at the park’s Harrington Loop for the ranger-led hike that doesn’t go to the top of the peak.
  • A 9 a.m. ranger-led hike at Lost Dutchman State Park near Apache Junction will cover about 2.5 miles.
  • A guided nature hike begins at 10 a.m. at Red Rock State park near Sedona.
  • A moderate hike lasting about two hours begins at 9 a.m. at Roper Lake State Park near Safford.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz