New Year’s Day hike with PVAS

Join Jim Cummins, Potomac Valley Audubon Society president, for a Jan. 1 hike at 10 a.m. heading downstream and back along the C&O Canal while observing natural features and history around the Pack Horse Ford section. The walk will start at the large parking area off Canal Road and is about 2 miles round-trip. Participation is free, but pre-registration is required. Dress for the weather. Register at or contact Krista Hawley at or 681-252-1387.

Winter solstice and full moon hikes

Strawberry Hill Nature Center, 1537 Mount Hope Road in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, will host winter solstice hikes at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and 22 to observe the shortest daylight hours day of the year. A full moon hike starts at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 29. Bring a flashlight and listen for owls and other nocturnal animals. Space is limited and pre-registration is required for all hikes. To register or for more information, call 717-642-5840 or visit

First Day hikes in Maryland Jan. 1

Several Maryland state parks will offer First Day hikes, Jan. 1-3. These self-guided hiking opportunities are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors and take a hike, all while following the current COVID-19 health guidelines. In Frederick County, hikers can follow the .25-mile Catoctin Furnace History Trail that begins at Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont, and crosses U.S. 15 via an elevated footpath to Catoctin Furnace Historical Village; hike the very difficult 12.4 mile Buzzkill hike that begins and ends at the Bob’s Hill Trailhead (allow 5 to 8 hours for this hike); or the Bob’s Hill 3.8-mile round-trip hike via Catoctin National Recreation Trail. More information on these hikes at 301-271-7574. At Gambrill State Park, Frederick, there’s the easy 1.5-mile High Knob Loop hike, and the 7.2-mile Yellow Poplar Trail moderate hike. Details at 301-721-7574. There are three hike options at Greenbrier State Park, Boonsboro, easy to moderate, 301-791-4767 for details. And the Women in Conservation Trail at Fort Frederick State Park, Big Pool, is an easy to moderate 1.5-mile hike along the Plantations Trail. Details at 301-842-2155. For the full list of hikes in Maryland, visit

— Susan Guynn

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