Marie McAden



Ranger-guided hikes offer a healthy start to the New Year

Posted 12/24/2013 11:46:00 AM

Packed on a few pounds this holiday season scarfing down figgy pudding and fruit cake? Take a walk on the wild side and burn off some of those Christmas calories.

More than two dozen South Carolina State Parks will be offering ranger-guided “First Day Hikes” Jan. 1 to help you start off 2014 on a healthy track. Part of a national program to get people outdoors and moving, the New Year’s Day treks offer something for every level of outdoor enthusiast in every corner of the state.

From a leisurely two-mile stroll through a Civil War battlefield to a strenuous seven-mile hike up a 350 million-year-old metamorphic rock, the hikes feature a diverse selection of settings with fantastic scenery to keep you entertained along the way.

Most of the planned hikes are easy to moderately difficult and suitable for all ages. Several, however, have been planned for those preferring a more intense outdoor experience. Devils Fork State Park will be hosting both a 5K run and a nature hike.

Coastal fans will enjoy Myrtle Beach State Park’s 2.25-mile walk. It will take participants along the edge of a freshwater marsh, through a maritime forest and on the beach.

Lake lovers will have a few different options, among them Hickory Knob State Park’s moderately strenuous two-mile hike through a beautiful hardwood forest overlooking Strom Thurmond Lake, and Little Pee Dee State Park’s easy 1.3-mile trail walk through the woods and along the shore of Lake Norton.

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