Hawai‘i Trek Tops List of ‘First Day Hikes’
The annual First Day Hike on the Makapu’u Light House Trail at the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on O‘ahu is arguably the most unique of the nearly 1,200 hikes in America’s State Parks each New Year’s Day.
While far from the most difficult, it is one of the best attended with an estimated 700 people making the short, two-mile-roundtrip hike to an overlook, where participants can see the first sunrise of 2019.
What makes it unique is the blend of cultures, which is a hallmark of Hawai‘i.
The day begins with the customary blowing of the pu (conch shell), followed by a Hawaiian oli, and performances by a taiko drum group.
“As our hike has evolved over the years, we’ve found that for local residents and visitors alike this unique blending of cultures provides a memorable start to the new year,” said Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “This, with the addition of spectacular views and the possibility of spotting breaching Humpback whales really makes Hawai‘i’s First Day Hike quite memorable and many people have come back year after year.”
The gate to the Kaiwi Coast Scenic Shoreline will open at 5:30 a.m., with sunrise at 7:09 a.m. Participants are encouraged to bring water, reef safe sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, snacks and poop bags for pets, all of which must be on leashes. The trail to the Makapu’u Lighthouse overlook is paved, is handicapped accessible, and is a relatively easy walk.
More About First Day Hikes Around the Country
On Jan. 1, all 50 states will be participating in the seventh annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with a guided outdoor exploration.
“America’s state parks are stunning year-round, but there’s nothing quite like a First Day Hike to really take in the great outdoors and kick off the New Year in a healthy way” said National Association of State Park Directors President Linda Lanterman. “On Jan. 1, grab your family and friends, lace up those boots and seek out a new adventure at a state park. Friendly staff and spectacular views will surely be waiting for you!”
Adventurers in North Carolina can hike beside the highest spring in the eastern United States at Mount Mitchell State Park, learn about the fire dependent ecosystem of the Pine Barrens with a New Jersey Woodland Steward, check off a New Year’s resolution by snowshoeing at Mirror Lake State Park in Wisconsin, or search for signs of wildlife at Robertsville State Park in Missouri. Details on every state’s hikes are located at www.StateParks.org, Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes.
“America’s State Parks invite the young and old alike to discover the serenity and natural beauty through exploring the beautiful public lands in every state,” the National Association of State Park Directors Executive Director Lewis Ledford said. “Hiking is a great way to improve your physical and mental health while enjoying the outdoors.”
First Day Hikes originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation—a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. Last year, more than 33,000 people participated on guided hikes that covered over 70,500 miles on 1,100 hikes across the country.