Mass. DCR’s First Day Hikes Return New Year’s Day 2015

Jumpstart your new year with free guided tours of 13 breathtaking state parks.

New Year’s Eve = party time.

New Year’s Day? Not so much.

If “get fit” and “see new things” are on your New Year’s resolutions list, then consider Mass. DCR’s First Day Hikes. For more than two decades, Mass. DCR has hosted the event, inviting the public on free guided tours of the state’s beautiful state parks. The tradition began with Blue Hills in Milton, and has since been adopted not only statewide, but by all 50 states.

Come January 1, 2015, you can visit any of 13 parks in Massachusetts to explore. Think positive thoughts at Thoreau’s place at Walden Pond, enjoy the view from the farthest park, Mount Greylock, or stick closer to home and visit the Chestnut Hill Reservation.

Each park will offer guided tours with park rangers who’ll share some of the park’s history and cultural tidbits.

Browse the parks in the map below to see how far you’ll need to drive, then scroll down for details on exact tour times, where to park, and special perks at some spots like free chowder, yum.


Chestnut Hill Reservation, Brighton, 12 p.m.
Meet at DCR Reilly Skating Rink, 355 Chestnut Hill Ave., Brighton (parking lot entrance on Beacon St.).


Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, Uxbridge, 1 p.m.
Meet at the Visitor Center.


Bradley Palmer State Park, Topsfield, 10 a.m.
Meet at headquarters. Willowdale Estates will host a reception following the hike.

Walden Pond State Reservation, Concord, 1 p.m.
Meet at the Thoreau House Replica, where a living history program will begin at noon.

Breakheart Reservation, Saugus, 12 p.m.
Meet at the Visitor Center for free clam chowder, coffee and hot cocoa. Arrive early to allow time for parking.


Blue Hills State Reservation, Milton, 12 p.m.
Meet in the Houghton’s Pond Parking Lot, 840 Hillside St. Arrive early to allow sufficient time for parking. Free soup will be served at noon, hikes begin at 1 p.m.

Nantasket Beach Reservation, Hull, 1 p.m.
Meet at the Mary Jeannette Murray Bathhouse, 204 Nantasket Ave.

Nickerson State Park, Brewster, 1 p.m.
Meet at the Main Lot near entrance.

Shawme Crowell State Forest, Sandwich, 1 p.m.
Meet at the Pavilion Area, 42 Main St.

Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Waquoit, 1 p.m.
Meet at the Visitor Center, 131 Waquoit Highway (Route 28).


DAR State Forest, Goshen, 11 a.m.
Meet at the Day Use Parking Lot off Route 112.

Great Falls Discovery Center, Turners Falls, 1 p.m.
Meet in the Discovery Center.

Mount Greylock Reservation, Lanesborough, 1 p.m.
Meet at the Visitor Center, 30 Rockwell Road.