Petit Jean State Park will sponsor free, guided hikes on New Year’s Day as part of an annual First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states. First Day Hikes offer an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on Jan. 1, 2014, at a state park. Hiking can be a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year, as well as a way to address obesity, especially among children.

Getting kids outside creates a connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our resources.

At Petit Jean State Park, hikes will be offered at the following locations and times:

Wednesday, Jan. 1 – First Day Hikes 2014

• Taking Care of the Cedar Falls Trail, 8:30 a.m.: Meet the park interpreters in the CCC Room of Mather Lodge to see how they work to maintain the park’s hiking trails.

Hike down to the foot of one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Arkansas.

This hike is a 2 mile round trip, moderately strenuous, and will take about 2 hours. Please wear sturdy shoes and bring along water.

• Petit Jean History Hike, 11:15 a.m.: Join Park Interpreter BT at the parking area across from the visitor center for an easy 1/2 mile hike on the paved CCC Hike/Bike trail to explore some of the work done by the CCC. This hike will last about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

• Bear Cave Hike, 1:30 p.m.: Join Park Interpreter Rachel at the Bear Cave parking lot for a walk among the giant sandstone boulders of the Bear Cave area. This is a relatively easy 1/2 mile hike that is great for the whole family and will last about 45 minutes.

• Rock House Cave Hike, 3 p.m.: Meet with Park Interpreter BT at the Rock House Cave parking area to hike to Rock House Cave. View ancient American Indian rock art. This hike is 1/4 mile long and will take about 45 minutes. Please wear sturdy shoes and bring water and a flashlight.

These hikes are free of charge and open to the public. For more information, contact the park at 501-727-5441 or by email at petitjean@arkansas.com, or also visit: www.petitjeanstatepark.com.