Our Favorite First Day Hikes for All New Years Eve Reveler Types


If you're planning a hike on January 1, your New Years Eve reveling style may play a big part in choosing the right activity for you. So rather than making a last-minute decision on New Years day, try considering the way you ring in the New Year to help make the best choice of a first day activity for you.

Your New Years Eve reveling style should determine your New Years Day hiking plans. We offer recommendations for all reveler styles.Photo byDeanLand / OurTravelCafe.com

We've identified three primary New Years Eve party styles, and paired them with suggested First Day hiking suggestions. Of course, your own fitness and resolution should determine your actual New Years Day activities, which may include trading hiking plans for a soft spot on the couch watching a full day of football with the sound turned down.

But if you are considering hiking, here are some suggestions:

Early Birds

Kennesaw Mountain, Stone Mountain, Indian Seats and Cartersville's Pine Mountain offer excellent sunrise views to start New Years Day.Photo byDeanLand / OurTravelCafe.com

Believe it or not, there are those who care little about reaching midnight or watching ball drops. In fact, these folks likely are in bed early, only to be awakened early by neighborhood fireworks or other celebrations. For Early Birds, the hiking universe is wide open on New Years Day. They'll likely get up early, wolf down breakfast in the car, and head into the wilderness or up a mountain, maybe even catching a Day 1 sunrise to welcome the New Year. Their reward will be crisp, clean air on uncrowded trails and the realization that they are the most likely to keep those popular fitness resolutions.

Hiking Recommendations: Since Early Birds will be well rested, virtually any destination of choice is in play, including the steepest, tallest and most remote mountain locations. Closer-in, summit trails at Kennesaw Mountain, Stone Mountain, Cartersville's Pine Mountain and Indian Seats offer excellent sunrise vistas to welcome the light of the first day.

NYE early birds can have their choice of First Day Hikes, getting an early start to welcome the New Year rather than doing so at midnight.Photo byDeanLand / OurTravelCafe.com


For a huge swath of the population, celebrating midnight on Jan. 1 with crowds, friends, family or all-of-the-above is a big deal. The Midnighters often enjoy dinner and a night out, counting down the hours then finally the minutes and seconds to the New Year. Then, less than an hour into the new day, they likely are snuggled back in bed, party over. Since some wine and a few drinks are a virtual certainty, the Midnighters are best to consider an easy First Day outing, and maybe one that they can start after 11 am. Plus, they'll want to down some water (and maybe some over-the-counter pain relievers) and bring more along on their outing.

Hiking Recommendations: Stay close-in with only a short drive, and consider hikes on flatter terrain, avoiding steep and long uphill climbs. Lakefront and riverside paths are great. Consider virtually any of the Chattahoochee NRA parks, Red Top Mountain hiking routes, and those at Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park that avoid the summit.

Waterside routes like at Red Top Mountain State Park offer close-in, mostly flat options for midnight revelers getting a later start.Photo byDeanLand / OurTravelCafe.com

Party Animals

Yes, they may have started in the evening, but watching the dropping ball signals the beginning of the second half of party time. When the Early Birds head out to their First Day adventures, they may pass some of the Party Animals heading home -- or at Waffle House or Dunkin Donuts. For this group, daylight is a sign that it's time to finally get some rest.

Hiking Recommendations: Don't. Instead, consider a short walk on flat ground near available services and amenities. The Mountain-to-River trail near downtown Marietta is a great choice, as is some of the Beltline. Don't forget the Noonday Creek Trail in Woodstock, or any of the excellent in-town walks in Rome, Columbus, Savannah and countless other cities.

In-town trails -- flat, with easy access to conveniences -- in Atlanta, Marietta, Woodstock and elsewhere are perfect for late party animal.Photo byDeanLand / OurTravelCafe.com

More On These Locations

Check out more details on some of the locations we recommend with these extended posts:

Sunrise Hike at Kennesaw Mountain

What You'll See from Panoramic Pine Mountain

Winding Walks in the Woods at Red Top Mountain

Close-In Trails with Diverse Terrain Options

Discovering Downtown Marietta on Foot

Walking in Wonderful Woodstock

Why We Love Winter Hiking

More From DeanLand on Newsbreak

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Welcome to OurTravelCafe.com. I'm DeanLand, a trained journalist and retired global marketing executive. Living in Northwest Georgia, I write about about avocations including outdoors, travel, exploration, history, food and community passions. I've traveled to 47 states and nearly as many countries. My French Cajun upbringing in Louisiana plus my extended restaurant-related career affirm my status as an over-qualified eater. At my blog, OurTravelCafe.com, I offer a complete menu of our my own experiences, explorations and adventures, organized by geography and always sprinkled with some spicy, tasty tidbits and food notes.

Acworth, GA

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