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Welcome the New Year with a hike

Start the year off on the right foot — take a First Day Hike at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.

On New Year’s Day, Tonto Natural Bridge State Park’s First Day Hike will offer Rim residents and visitors an opportunity to explore its unique natural and cultural treasures. Observe javelina, listen to birds, discover wildlife tracks and breathe in the fresh air.

The quiet beauty of nature will surround visitors in winter, experience spectacular views and vistas and benefit from the company of Tonto Natural Bridge’s knowledgeable state park guide, Morgan Wilkes. Wilkes started out as a volunteer a few years ago at Tonto Natural Bridge, and then became a Park Ranger. He says he enjoys being there and likes to help visitors enjoy the experience. He will describe the hikes to hikers who may then select the hike that is suitable for them.

Complimentary hot chocolate and coffee will be available to hikers who will also receive $1 off admission, which is regularly $5 for adults.

The event starts at 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1. Participants should meet at the bridge parking area. Children must be at least 7 years old to participate and no pets are allowed. The hike is moderate in difficulty and six-tenths of a mile in length. Bring water and winter gear.

The hike will be on Gowan Trail to the observation deck and will continue for those who want to go through the bridge and return via Anna Mae Trail.

Weather conditions in January may be extreme; hike may be canceled due to snow, ice, high creek flow, etc. Check the park Web site for current information.

For cancellation information, call the park at (928) 476-4202 or visit azstateparks.com/tona.

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