Marie McAden



Start the New Year with a healthy hike in the woods

Posted 12/13/2012 10:28:00 AM

Want to exercise more in 2013? Kick-start your New Year’s resolution with a healthy hike in the woods. South Carolina State Parks will be offering more than two dozen ranger-guided “First Day Hikes” Jan. 1 as part of a national program to get people outdoors and moving.

The walks will take participants along beaches, through forests and on historic trails with fantastic views and scenery. Most of the planned hikes are easy to moderately difficult and suitable for all ages.

If you’re headed to the coast, I suggest walking Edisto Beach State Park’s Spanish Mount Trail. The 1.7-mile wooded pathway will take you to a wetland along Scott’s Creek where you’ll get a unique look at a 4,000-year-old Native American shell midden.

In the Midlands, rangers at Dreher State Park will be leading a hike on the 2.5-mile Little Gap Trail. This one cuts through a thick forest of pines and hardwoods, offering plenty of views of Lake Murray along the way.

Those looking for a more strenuous workout have a couple of great options in the Upstate. I’d go with the 3,100-foot climb to the top of Table Rock, South Carolina’s famed granite dome. The 7.2-mile up-and-back trek will take approximately six hours, enough to burn off that pumpkin pie you devoured Christmas Day.

If you’re into running, there’s a 5K scheduled at Devils Fork State Park along with a nature walk for those in your crew who would prefer a more leisurely pace.

For a complete listing of the participating parks and their New Year’s Day hikes, click here or visit www.southcarolinaparks.com.