Start the new year by exploring a new park of the Black Hills. South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks is sponsoring First Day Hikes in state parks and other state land throughout South Dakota.

First Day Hikes is a nationwide event that was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state parks. Be sure to wear warm clothes and maybe even bring a thermos of hot chocolate before setting out on these winter hikes. 

In Custer State Park, visitors can experience a guided tour on the two-mile Creekside Trail.  This trail parallels Grace Coolidge Creek and offers stunning views. The hike will leave from the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center at 10 a.m.

If bird watching is on your list for the new year head to Angostura Recreation Area. On this two mile guided hike participants may see bald eagles and several waterfowl species of waterfowl. Make sure to bring your binoculars and bird ID book. The hike will leave at 1 p.m. from the Angostura Recreation Area Picnic Shelter 2. 

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If snowshoeing is something you always wanted to try you will be hard pressed to find a better spot than the George S. Mickelson Trail. GFP lets hikers borrow snowshoes for free to try out the hobby and get a quick lesson. No experience is necessary but shoes do need to be reserved in advance. Call the Black Hills Trails Office for more information. This hike will leave at 1 p.m. with the location to be determined by snowfall. For your information contact the Black Hills Trails Office at (605) 584-3896. 

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