James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 3.73'
Flow: 1590 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 10:30pm
Low Tide: 4:36pm

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Posted In: Hiking

Start 2019 Right with a Hike in a Virginia State Park

Andy Thompson

December 19, 2018 11:12am

The Bay View Trail at Mason Neck State Park along the Potomac River. Credit: DCR

Ring in the New Year with a special First Day Hike in a Virginia State Park. All state parks will offer free parking all day, while the first 100 visitors to each park will receive a special bumper sticker.

Two contests give visitors two opportunities to win gift certificates valued at up to $500. Participants can be eligible to win prizes by simply registering, hiking and then recording the hike on Jan. 1. An annual photo contest is also an opportunity for visitors to win gift certificates that can be used for camping and cabin reservations or to purchase annual passes.

For complete contest details, visit https://vasp.fun/2019firstdayhikes. For a list of scheduled hikes and programs, visit https://vasp.fun/1stdayhikes2019.

Some choices include:

Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield offers an adults-only ranger-led night hike on a trail usually reserved for biking, with a bonfire to celebrate the countdown. The park also offers a variety of hikes and even a guided bike ride for different ages and capabilities.

Fairy Stone State Park in Stuart will host a New Year’s Eve celebration and a ranger-led mile hike the next morning. The whole family will enjoy finding the hidden ornaments left by the legendary Christmas Opossum at Caledon State Park in King George. Three ranger-led hikes at Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin include a hike in search of vernal pools and a dog hike. The park also offers several self-guided and self-paced options. Mason Neck State Park in Lorton offers three hikes ranging from a leisurely stroll to a fast-paced heart-pumping hike. Explore the newest addition to New River Trail State Park, the Hoover Mountain Bike area, for a hike or bike. Virginia’s newest state park, Widewater State Park in Stafford County, offers two guided hikes, one on the history and unique aspects of the Widewater peninsula and another on the animals who winter at the park.

To find a state park near you and plan your First Day Hike, visit www.VirginiaStateParks.gov.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?