Virginians keep ‘First Day Hike’ tradition alive in 2021

‘A symbolic way to start the year off on the right foot’

Self-guided tours were available because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. – The soggy start to 2021 didn’t prevent some Virginians from keeping a favorite tradition.

National forests and state parks across the country offer First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day.

Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County typically hosts guided tours; however, because of the pandemic, they had self-guided ones and a scavenger hunt.

Workers said although the crowd was smaller this year, it’s a symbolic way to start the year off on the right foot.

“A lot of people go out and party on New Year’s Eve. This is a way to get up in the morning, go outside, do something helpful, spend time with your family; and especially a year like this year, do something that’s relatively safe compared to a lot of other activities,” said Matthew Jackson, visitor experience specialist at Natural Bridge State Park.

Jackson said many people took advantage of the outdoors in 2020 and he hopes it continues this year.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.