AUSTIN, Texas — What better way to start the new year and celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks than with a First Day Hike?
"It's really exciting," said Lauren Sweat, McKinney Falls State Park park interpreter and volunteer coordinator. "You know, it's got us thinking about the next hundred years and future generations and the exciting things to come."
Starting on Jan. 1, 2023, every Texas State Park will be celebrating 100 years of state protection. All 88 Texas State Parks will host ranger-guided and self-guided walks, bike rides, paddling trips and polar plunges for the entire year of 2023, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
"Here on April 15, we're going to be celebrating our McKinney Falls Fest," Sweat said. "It's actually April 15, the day that our park opened up, back in 1976."
Later in the month, Onion Creek at McKinney Falls will get stocked with rainbow trout.
Aside from these events, Sweat encourages people to head out to the parks because it's a great way to disconnect.
"Especially, just in such a busy city with so much congestion and people," Sweat said. "It's nice to have a space where you can feel a little bit more spaced out and, you know, just take a nice evening to take some time, slow down and enjoy a hike, enjoy some nature."
Sweat said this year, TPWD will have two new Texas State Parks opening to the public for the first time in 25 years.
Anyone planning a trip to one of the many Texas State Parks is strongly encouraged to reserve a day pass in advance, due to some parks reaching their capacity limit each day.
Texas residents and visitors can reserve a day pass through the TPWD reservation website or by calling (512) 389-8900.