Start the new year off right with a hike

Ringwood event aims to encourage use of state parks

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  • Photo courtesy of NJBG Bundle up and enjoy a convivial start to the New Year at a First Day Hike on Monday, Jan. 1, at the New Jersey State Botanical Garden.

Start the new year off right with a hike at the New Jersey State Botanical Garden.

Sponsored by the NJBG/Skylands Association and Ringwood State Park, the free First Day Hike is set for Monday, Jan. 1, at 1 p.m. at the woodlands surrounding the garden, which is located on Morris Road in Ringwood.

The hike is self-guided and family-friendly.

If weather permits, hikers can easily climb to the Mt. Defiance overlook on the Halifax trail and return, or choose our alternate hike without a climb.

Hikers are advised to wear sturdy shoes and weather appropriate clothes. Small children may need to be carried, hike organizers said.

The approximately 90-minute hike starts between 1 and 2 p.m. Visitors should check in at the Carriage House Visitor Center of the New Jersey State Botanical Garden. Maps and hike directions will be provided.

The event will be canceled if there is snow.

For for information, call 973-962-7031.

First Day Hikes are held annually on New Year's Day at state parks all across the United States. They are designed to encourage visitors to enjoy their state parks year-round, and to promote good health and exercise by working off some of the calories gained during the holidays.

In the winter, the garden's primary roads and parking lots are cleared after snowfalls and everyone is invited to stroll through the serene surroundings to enjoy the season’s special beauty. People can also bring cross-country skis and snowshoes to explore the garden’s many meadows and woodland trails in a totally different way.

The New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands, which appears on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Admission to the garden is always free. Parking is also free in the fall, winter and spring.

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