The very first day of a new year deserves more than to be spent cleaning up from the previous night’s party. Start 2024 off on the right foot with one of these first day hikes in NoVA on January 1. You’ll be able to breathe in the fresh winter air, kick-start your resolutions to exercise more or be more adventurous, and take in beautiful views of lakes, mountains, and trees. If you ask us, that seems like a pretty good way to ring in the new year.
Visit any of Fairfax County’s beautiful parks and hiking trails like Riverbend Park, Frying Pan Park, and Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. While you’re hiking, snap a photo of yourself on the trail and submit it to the Park Authority for a chance to win gift cards in the First Hike photo contest.
Head to Burke Lake for a sunrise or sunset hike on New Year’s Day. The hikes will be guided by a naturalist to show you through the park, and you’ll get lovely views of the sun as it rises or sets over the scenic lake. The sunrise hike begins at 7 a.m. and the sunset hike begins at 4:30 p.m. Burke Lake Park: 7315 Ox Rd., Fairfax, $8 registration
Hikes at Leesylvania State Park merge history with nature. There are guided hikes at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to learn about the history of the park, spanning about 2 miles. For little ones, there are children’s discovery hikes at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. with binoculars, magnifying glasses, and bug-catching tools to help kids connect with nature. Leesylvania State Park: 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Dr., Woodbridge, free
Mason Neck State Park will have several guided hikes throughout the day. At 9:30 there will be a 3.8-mile hike, followed by a 2.5-mile loop at the Woodmarsh Loop at 11:30 a.m. Neither trail is wheelchair accessible, and the Woodmarsh Loop hike requires a reservation. Later on in the day, there’s a short, wheelchair-accessible hike on the Dogue Trail at noon, then a 3 p.m. 1.25-mile family hike. Mason Neck State Park: 7301 High Point Rd., Lorton
Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck will partake in a guided first day hike at Pohick Bay Regional Park. The hike will be approximately 2.5 to 3 miles long through the red trail loop, beginning at 10 a.m. Hikers will get to learn about the park’s flora and fauna with a NOVA Parks naturalist. Park in the upper parking lot near the mini-golf and disc-golf courses. Pohick Bay Regional Park: 6501 Pohick Bay Dr., Lorton, free
Start 2024 off bright and early with a sunrise hike at Sky Meadows State Park. The park gates will open at 5:30 a.m. for guests who want to catch the sunrise. There will be a 4-mile guided hike with rangers leaving the log cabin in the historic area at 10 a.m., and a 2-mile guided hike through the former Skye Farm at 1 p.m. Sky Meadows State Park: 11012 Edmonds Ln., Delaplane, free
Take a 1.8-mile hike on the Holly Marsh Trail while a ranger teaches you about local wildlife in the forest. The hikes will be held at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m., and it is kid friendly. Reservations are required. Widewater State Park: 101 Widewater State Park Rd., Stafford
Feature image, stock.adobe.com
For more stories like this, subscribe to Northern Virginia Magazine’s Health newsletter.