First Day Hike

Stephanie Wood, right, and Chad Wood of Wortham, along with their son Jonathan, were finally able to walk the trails Friday at Mother Neff State Park as part of its First Day Hike event.

Mother Neff State Park continues to be popular with hikers on New Year’s Day.

The state park near Moody recorded 230 visitors for its annual First Day Hike on Jan. 1 this year — 157 fewer people than in 2020 mostly because of safety measures in place during the coronavirus crisis, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokeswoman Stephanie Garcia said Wednesday.

Last year, Mother Neff was second in the state in First Day attendance with 387 visitors.

Statewide, 2,668 people hiked and biked a total of 8,173 miles, according to a news release from the Parks and Wildlife Department. State parks hosted a total of 60 events across Texas and many were self-guided to encourage social distancing.

“I am thrilled that Texans bundled up and joined others in hiking Texas State Parks on the first day of the year,” Rodney Franklin, director of Texas State Parks, said in the release. “It is a testament to the spirit of our visitors and their love of the outdoors to see so many for First Day Hikes. It was great to welcome folks young and old and see them enjoying the day. First Day Hikes is one of my favorite events and I would like to thank everyone that participated. Here’s to a better 2021 and I look forward to hosting even more of you for First Day Hikes in 2022!”

Snow also affected attendance, officials said. However, one couple reportedly hiked two miles in the snow at Lake Colorado State Park, west of Abilene, on New Year’s Day, officials said.

Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose had the most First Day Hike participants for the second consecutive year.  The park, about an hour southwest of Fort Worth, recorded 262 visitors this year, the department said. In 2020, 390 people participated in the First Day Hike at Dinosaur Valley.