Celebrate the New Year with First Day Hike at local state park

The public can participate in a free, guided hike through a state park near the Housatonic River in Derby on New Year’s Day.

The 2.5-mile hike at Osbornedale State Park in Derby is one of four such treks being offered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) as part of the First Day Hikes program at U.S. state parks. First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at a state park in Massachusetts.

The Osbornedale State Park hike begins at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 1 at the Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Ave., Derby (off Route 34). It will be a moderate to strenuous 2.5-mile loop.

Participants will hike on the red trail, past old stone foundations and ponds and through fields and forests as they learn about the history of the farm. They should dress for the weather and bring water and a snack.

Free coffee and hot chocolate will be served after the hike. Dogs on leashes are invited to participate.

Four hikes planned in Connecticut

In 2012, for the first time, all 50 state park systems joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes, with 400 hikes taking place nationwide.

In Connecticut on Jan. 1, hikes also are scheduled at three other state parks — Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Mansfield Hollow State Park in Mansfield, and Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden.

"First Day hikes offer a convenient way to get outside, meet new people, exercise, and welcome the new year with friends and family," DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said. "For the third year, Connecticut is participating as we once again join all forty-nine other states that will provide First Day hikes for 2014."