Start the new year with a guided hike

Carol EvansOur Town Outdoors, Union

Check out all the FREE First Day Hikes offered at area State Parks on Saturday, Jan. 1.

8 a.m. at Panther Creek State Park. Free. Hike Trout Lily Trail, a moderately-difficult 2-mile loop that follows the water’s edge for part of the hike. For more info or to register go here or call 423-587-7046.

8 a.m. at Frozen Head State Park. Free. Hike up a steep and challenging 1.8 miles to see Castle Rock then hike 4 miles back to the campground or continue to the Pillars of Doom, upper elevation pine forests and a pond with ridgeline views for a total of ~7 miles round trip. For more info or to register go here or call 423-346-3318.

10 a.m. at Fort Loudoun State Historic Park. Free. Join Ranger Will and examine the life of a soldier; the uniforms and equipment used by troops in the 1750s; the circumstances that led many of the soldiers to North America; the wives and children who accompanied them; and the reasons why Fort Loudoun was built. Tour the fort and the reconstructed Cherokee houses, culminating with the loading and firing of a flintlock musket. For more info or to register go here or call 423-420-2331.

10 a.m. at Cove Lake State Park. Free. Join Ranger Wray for an easy 2-mile hike around the Woods Loop Trail and Goose Island. For more info or to register go here or call 423-566-9701.

10 a.m. at Norris Dam State Park. Free. Join Ranger Gamble for a moderate to strenuous 3-mile hike on one of the park’s newest trails. For more info or to register go here or call 865-426-7461.

1 p.m. at Seven Islands State Birding Park. Free. Join the rangers for an easy to moderate 2.5-3-mile hike to discuss the history of the park, management practices, upcoming programs, and volunteer opportunities. Bring cameras or binoculars. For more info or to register go here or call 715-630-6848.

1 p.m. at Big Ridge State Park. Free. Join Ranger Derek on this 2.5-mile hike around Big Ridge Lake. This will be an off-trail guided hike of moderate difficulty, with some climbing over fallen logs and steep hills. For more info or to register go here or call 865-992-5523.

Go to OutdoorKnoxville.com to find other activities.

Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation.

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