By Kathy Knotts
In Anne Arundel County, you can take a First Day Hike at ten county-owned locations and Sandy Point State Park. Start your year off on the right foot by joining knowledgeable park rangers, naturalists, and volunteers in a county park. Sturdy footwear, binoculars, cameras, and a water bottle are recommended. Dress for the weather.
Bacon Ridge Natural Area
10am-noon: Join a Park Ranger on a leisurely-paced two-mile hike through the newly built multi-use trails of the Bacon Ridge Natural Area and discover the hills at the headwaters of the South River. Warm up with hot apple cider after the hike. Participants should meet at the Severn Chapel Parking Area. Register at ActiveNet #30978.
10- 11:30am: Start your year off with nature in mind by joining us on a family-friendly hike along the Downs Park perimeter trail, stopping to enjoy views of the Chesapeake Bay and the waterfowl that make it their winter home. Register at ActiveNet #30969.
Fort Smallwood Park
10-11am: Bring the whole family out for a low-impact hike around Fort Smallwood Park’s pathways and trails. Enjoy winter views of the Patapsco River and enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and coffee.
Register at ActiveNet #30970.
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Park
2-3:30pm: Get off the beaten path for an afternoon hike through the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Park, situated on Rock Creek in Pasadena.
Register at ActiveNet #30971.
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
9am-noon: Join Mike Quinlan, volunteer & Maryland Master Naturalist, and Gordon Reynolds, volunteer and birder extraordinaire, on a vigorous exploration of a natural winter wonderland. Ages 12 and older.
Register at ActiveNet #30972.
Kinder Farm Park
10-11:30am: Bring the whole family out for a comfortably-paced hike around the perimeter trail at Kinder Farm Park. Rangers will make frequent stops to introduce participants to interesting plants and animals found along the way. Register at ActiveNet #30973.
Lake Waterford Park
10-11:30am: Join the rangers for a leisurely walk around the lake and trails. Explore nature in its winter beauty. Look for winter wildlife and enjoy complimentary hot cocoa.
Register at ActiveNet #30974
Magothy Greenway Natural Area
10am-2pm: Choose from several self-guided hikes through the Magothy Greenway Natural Area. Explore this important wetland tucked away in the heart of Lake Shore and learn the important role bogs play in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. A park ranger and members of the Magothy River Association will be onsite from 10am to 2pm to share maps, resources, and suggested routes. Water and hot chocolate will be provided. Participants should meet in the Looper’s Field Parking Lot.
Register at ActiveNet #30975.
Quiet Waters Park
2-4pm: Join the rangers for an invigorating hike along the fitness and pavilion trails. Hikers will meet at the Sycamore Pavilion parking lot for easy access to the trail. Hike is family/dog friendly and is approximately 2 miles on paved trails. Afterward, enjoy hot chocolate and s’mores in the Sycamore Pavilion. For more information contact the park at 410-222-1777.
Register at ActiveNet #30976.
South River Farms Park
Noon-2pm: Just across the South River from Quiet Waters Park is a hidden gem called South River Farms. Join us as we breathe in the crisp air of the New Year on a 2-mile hike through old-growth forest while taking in views of the scenic South River. This ranger lead hike will allow curious wanderers to ask questions along the way and learn something new.
Register at ActiveNet #30977.
Register for these free hikes in Anne Arundel here: bit.ly/hike2023.
Sandy Point State Park
Take an easy self-guided 2-mile beach hike along the Chesapeake Bay at your own pace. Leashed pets welcome, no stroller/wheelchair access. Vehicle fee $3. 1100 E. College Pkwy, Annapolis, Park Office: 410-974-2149 / Duty Ranger: 410-980-3113.
Choose from three parks in Calvert County for First Day Hikes, plus Calvert Cliffs.
Biscoe Gray Heritage Farm
10am-noon: Ring in the new year on a 3-mile guided hike at the farm with a naturalist. All ages welcome; children under 16 must be accompanied by adult. Hike is not stroller-friendly, but children in backpacks are welcome. RSVP by Dec. 30, $8/family.
10am-noon: Take a 1.5-mile guided hike at the farm with a naturalist. All ages welcome; children under 16 must be accompanied by adult. Hike is not stroller-friendly, but children in backpacks are welcome. RSVP by Dec. 30, $8/family.
Flag Ponds Nature Park
10am-noon: Take a 3-mile guided hike at the farm with a naturalist. Enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate by a campfire afterward. All ages welcome; children under 16 must be accompanied by adult. Hike is not stroller-friendly, but children in backpacks are welcome. RSVP by Dec. 30, $8/family.
RSVP for county park hikes at calvertparks.org.
8:30am: Take a ranger-led moderate 3.6-mile hike starting at the red trailhead. The red trail is a 1.8 mile hike from the parking lot to the beach. Once you get down to the beach you can look for unique fossils, and possibly some shark teeth. Leashed pets are welcome. 10540 H.G. Truman Road, Lusby, Calvert Cliffs State Park Office: 443-975-4360.