Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park's First Day Hike Festival is January 1st 

The festival will feature a two-mile hike on a flat, paved road.

Anyone with resolutions of starting off the new year with a more active and healthy lifestyle may be interested in attending Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park's ninth annual First Day Hike Festival on Wednesday, January 1st.

The hiking festival, held in conjunction with a series of five signature hiking events hosted throughout the year by all Tennessee State Parks, will feature a two-mile hike on a flat, paved road that begins at the park's Shelter 2 (736 Piersol Road, Millington), reaches a mid-point at the Woodland Shelter, and ends back at the starting point.

  • David Duplessis | Tennessee Photographs

Samantha Cox, park ranger of Shelby Forest, says this event began in 2011 to promote a more active lifestyle.

"It was the first major step in promoting healthy living outdoors," she says. "We wanted to get people outside to get healthy physically and mentally and enjoy the outdoors, this free resource that we have."

Since the event's inception, the annual hike has become popular, and with an attendance of as many as 700 people, it's developed into a festival.

click to enlarge A walk in the woods - SAMANTHA COX
  • Samantha Cox
  • A walk in the woods

At the midway point, participants will be rewarded with festivities, where they can gather around a bonfire to roast s'mores, eat fruits, drink hot cocoa and other nonalcoholic beverages, meet with Friends of the Forest volunteers, see the birds of prey that inhabit the park, and view black powder demonstrations and a Frontier Rendezvous camp.

Cox says this event is great for those who'd like to spend time with each other for the holidays.

"It's just a fun thing for members of the community to get a nice afternoon with their families and friends," she says.

First Day Hike Festival, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, Wednesday, January 1st, 1-4 p.m., free.

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