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With “First Day Hikes” at Pinnacle Mountain State Park and other locations, Arkansas welcomes the new year



Little Rock, Arkansas – As part of a national initiative known as “First Day Hikes,” people from all around the state rang in the New Year by visiting Arkansas’ numerous stunning state parks.

America’s State Parks, an association that represents all 50 state park systems, is the driving force behind First Day Hikes.

“Here at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, for years we’ve been offering First Day Hikes to encourage people to come outside and explore the outdoors and spend their New Year outside and having fun,” said Arkansas State Parks Interpreter Samuel Files.

The program, which is held on New Year’s Day every year, promotes spending time outdoors with loved ones and good practices as a way to start a new year. One of the park’s most difficult and rocky pathways, the West Summit Trail in Pinnacle Mountain State Park, was quite popular with hikers.

For those who opted to take part, park rangers offered guided treks, which come with certain benefits.

“You can experience a little bit more history and a little bit more natural knowledge than you might on your own,” Files said. “You can delve a little bit deeper into our resources, find some of the hidden history here in the park.”

“Me and my buddy were coming to take photos pretty much. He just came back from South Carolina—he was at the Citadel for the Army. And, so we were hiking up here. We’ve hiked a lot over the past summer,” said Aiden Gray, a young hiker from Conway and an avid photographer.

People from all over the state made the arduous climb up to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain, which rewards the most intrepid hikers with breathtaking scenery.

From their Crossett, Connecticut, home, the Smith family traveled three hours to witness the breathtaking vista.

“Don’t go up the rocks. The rocks are…phew,” laughed Josh Smith.

“Everybody told us to not go that way, and we’re like, ‘we’re young, we can do it…,’ but I mean we did fine, we just took some breaks,” said Amanda Smith. “It’s definitely worth it to get up here and kind of get away from the business of town and just reconnect with God.”

The Smiths hiked up the most stunning peak in Pulaski County with their daughter and her boyfriend. In the upcoming years, the family plans to travel throughout Arkansas more.

“It’s also just really cool that this is our home, you know. This is Arkansas. This is right in the middle of the state capital,” Josh said. “It says something for our state and makes you proud to be an Arkansan.”

A limited-edition sticker was given to each participant once they finished the climb. The experience itself is the true reward, though.

Hikers in Arkansas State Parks are advised to record their finished First Day Hikes and kilometers on the Arkansas State Parks website so that the park staff can calculate the total distance hiked. A complimentary hiking sticker from Arkansas State Parks will be mailed to participants.


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