One of, if not the, most popular New Year’s resolutions is to exercise more and live more heathfully. South Carolina’s state parks want to help you get those resolutions off to a good start.
On New Year’s Day, more than 30 state parks will offer ranger-guided hikes, walks and special events. These First Day Hikes is a national event sponsored by America’s State Parks that involves exercise as well as education on the cultural and natural heritage of the parks.
Here are several nearby options for a First Day Hike in Columbia and just a short drive away.
In the Columbia area
Sesquicentennial State Park has two First Day Hikes. A park ranger will give a guided 2-mile easy hike on the Sandhills Trail focusing on fitness and exercise. A less strenuous half-mile nature walk along the Jackson Creek Nature Trail will focus on the park’s plants and wildlife.
10 a.m. and 1 p.m. for Sandhills Trail hikes, 2 p.m. for Jackson Creek. 9564 Two Notch Road. For both walks, meet at the park office. Free. (803) 788-2706, www.southcarolinaparks.com
Park visitors who participate at any state park in the First Day Hikes are encouraged to share their experiences through comments and photo posts on social media with the hashtags #FirstDayHikes and #SCStateParks.
If you’d like to venture a bit farther from Columbia, here are some state parks within an hour or so that are offering First Day Hikes. Go to www.southcarolinaparks.com for a complete list and details.
AIKEN STATE PARK
Where: 1145 State Park Road, Windsor, about 55 miles from Columbia
Hike: 1.5-mile Jungle Trail (easy)
Start time: 10 a.m.
Where to meet: Picnic area
CHESTER STATE PARK
Where: 759 State Park Drive, Chester; about 61 miles from Columbia
Hike: 2.6-mile Chester State Park Nature Trail (easy)
Start time: 2 p.m.
Where to meet: Shelter 2 in the day use area
Info: (803) -385-2680
GOODALE STATE PARK
Where: 650 Park Road, Camden; about 40 miles from Columbia
Hike: 1.5-mile Nature Trail (easy)
Start time: 10 a.m.
Where to meet: Ranger Station
Minimum age: 10
Info: (843) 546-9361
LANDSFORD CANAL STATE PARK
Where: 2051 Park Drive, Catawba; about 63 miles from Columbia
Hike: 1.5-mile Landsford Canal Nature Trail (easy)
Start time: 9:30 a.m.
Where to meet: Information kiosk in day use area
Info: (803) 789-5800
Of note: Stops at the spider lilies and eagle viewing areas.
MUSGROVE MILL STATE PARK
Where: 398 State Park Road, Clinton; about 66 miles from Columbia
Hike: Three offered. Among them: 1.5-mile Palmetto Trail at Blackstock Battlefield Historic Site (easy-moderate)
Start time: 1:30 p.m.
Where to meet: Musgrove Mill SHS Visitor Center
Minimum age: 12
Info: (864) 938-0100
POINSETT STATE PARK
Where: 6660 Poinsett Park Road, Wedgefield; about 46 miles from Columbia
Hike: 2-mile Coquina Trail (easy)
Start time: 9 a.m.
Where to meet: Park Office
Info: (803) 494-8177