Starting on the right foot: Lake Murray offers guided hike on New Year's Day

Drew Butler
On January 1, Lake Murray State Park will be offering two guided hikes. Hikers will meet at the Nature Center near Tucker Tower then take an approximately 1.5 mile trek.
A close up view of Tucker Tower.
Tucker Tower as seen from across the lake.
Guests on the hike will enjoy views of the lake as well as the surrounding nature and animals.
A single boater enjoys the water on a warm winter day.
Hikers are encouraged to bring along cameras and binoculars to better view any wildlife that may appear along the trail.

Anyone looking to begin 2021 on the right foot need look no further than Lake Murray State Park. On New Year’s Day, the park will once again be participating in the annual statewide First Day Hikes initiative when two guided group hikes will be setting out from Tucker Tower.

Lake Murray State Park Naturalist Bonnie Farris said the First Day Hikes began several years ago with the national parks and was later taken over by the state parks. Similar hikes will take place across the nation.

“It’s really all about starting out the first of the year on a positive note outdoors,” Farris said. “It encourages people to get active outside and begin the year in the fresh air.”

The hikes set for Lake Murray will both begin at Tucker Tower and are approximately 1.5 miles in length. The trail will be suitable for all ages, and pets on leashes will be permitted. Hikers are asked to dress appropriately for the weather by wearing the right clothes and shoes. They may also bring along water bottles, cameras and binoculars to get a closer look at any wildlife that might make an appearance along the way.

“There’s a small little loop out here by the nature center, and there is a trail that runs from the ski jump down to Tucker Tower,” she said. “There’s a point on the trail where it turns back, and then we’ll loop back around on the road to come back to Tucker Tower.”

Farris said the event will work a little differently than in years past because of the coronavirus pandemic. In order to encourage proper social distancing, both hikes are limited to 25 members, and guests must RSVP to participate. The morning hike is already full, but there is still space available for the 1:30 p.m. hike. Anyone wishing to reserve their space can send an email to

“Because we’re having to restrict the amount of people on our hike, I’m encouraging people to just get outside,” Farris said. “Come visit Lake Murray or any state park and enjoy the fresh air. If you aren’t able to come with us, create your own first day hike for yourself and your friends and family.”

For more information about the First Day Hike at Lake Murray State Park as well as other hikes taking place across the state visit