Hit the trails for a First Day Hike

Are you ready to start a new tradition for the new year?

We’ve got the secret to starting 2024 on the right foot.

Take a hike!

Two hikers in winter

A First Day Hike is a fun and healthy way to kick off the New Year. The concept is simple: on January 1, visit a provincial park near you for a hike!

You’ll feel great after spending some time in the frosty fresh air to ring in 2024!

Hiking for health

A First Day Hike promotes a year-long embrace of health and happiness in the outdoors. Plus, hiking offers head-to-toe health benefits. 

Hiking is good for cardiovascular health and can help reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

It’s also great at toning muscles, especially in quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Add some hills or uneven terrain for an even better cardio workout and to burn more calories.

Hikers on bridge

Hiking is good for your mind, too. Research shows that spending time outdoors may increase your attention span and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50%.

As you travel along the trail, you’ll hear the sounds of nature all around you. Nature sounds — like birds and rushing water — have been shown to lower stress levels.

Woman hiking in a snowy forest

Ring in the new year with a First Day Hike at one of our park events!

Each year, Ontario Parks hosts First Day Hike events where we encourage Ontarians to join us for a hike at one of our 31 operating parks to kick off the new year in a happy, healthy way.

Take a self-guided hike with your friends and family, or find a park event near you:

Algonquin Provincial Park

Join expert Park Naturalist Henrique Pacheco in search of wildlife and the tracks they leave behind.

This hike is 3 km is length and approximately two hours in length. Binoculars are provided. Winter boots recommended.

Meet at 10:30 a.m. at the Old Railway Bike Trail Parking Lot (1km south on Mew Lake Campground Road, at km 30.6)

Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Bronte Creek offers 13 km of multi-use trails to walk, jog, ski or cycle along.

Remember to take along a park map or use your mobile phone map app to keep track of your location, it’s easy to get turned around.

Plan to start your hike either in Parking Lot A in their Day Use Only area or the Campground main lot on the campground access area.

Killarney Provincial Park

How do Killarney’s critters decide to brave the cold, head south for the winter, or sleep the days away?

Join Park Naturalist Kate to explore the world of winter adaptations and discover how our furred and feathered friends survive in even the most extreme conditions.

This hike is approx. an hour long, walking 2 km over even terrain with a few hills. You can bring snowshoes or ice cleats, but neither are required.

Meet at 2:00 p.m. at the gatehouse.

Pinery Provincial Park

Dress cozy and join a naturalist at 11:00 a.m. for a stroll among the snow, glimpse winter life, and learn about how plants, animals, and humans adapt to the darkest and coldest season of the year.

This hike will take you 1 – 1.5 hours.

Presqu’ile Provincial Park

Have you ever wondered what the animals of the marsh do when winter comes along?

Join our naturalist at 10:00 a.m. for a First Day Hike along the Marsh Boardwalk Trail to celebrate the new year and explore the changes in the marsh during the winter.

Sibbald Point Provincial Park

Visit Sibbald Point this winter for an evening journey along the Maidenhair Fern Trail, lit only by fire and the stars.

This journey takes approximately 1-1.5 hours to complete dependent on your hiking pace.

Hike between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on your own or join a guided hike led by Sibbald Point’s Discovery team that will begin at 6:30 p.m. on event dates.

Staff recommend bringing your own snowshoes, but they are optional depending on amount of snow fall.

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

Visit Wasaga Nordic and Trail Centre at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park for a first day snowshoe from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.!

Enjoy up to 10 km of snowshoe trails ranging from beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Snowshoe rentals will be available.

Complimentary hot chocolate, a campfire, and a scavenger hunt related to the snowshoe trail and the Nordic Centre will be available to all who attend.

Ready to hit the trails?

Start planning your First Day Hike now.

Hiking during the winter can be fun as long as you plan ahead, be prepared, and dress for the conditions. Let this mark the beginning of a healthy lifestyle for the whole family!

Don’t forget to guarantee your spot! Visit our reservation service to obtain a daily vehicle permit in advance for one of the many participating parks up to five days in advance of your trip.