Caddo Lake State Park will say goodbye to 2019 with a hike that will close out the final minutes of the year.

The New Year’s Eve Hike will begin at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and finish about midnight.

“We’re slowly and steadily trying to increase our efforts to get visitors to the park,” Park Superintendent Brandon Lopes-Baca said. “This is just another way for us to provide opportunities for that to happen. We want to provide opportunities for anybody no matter what the time is to come and enjoy themselves.”

Park interpreter Kelsey Johnson will lead the hike, with Lopes-Baca describing her as “probably one of the most knowledgeable” members of the park’s staff. Caddo Lake has been designated a “Wetland of International Importance.” It’s the only place in Texas with this particular ecosystem, Lopes-Baca said.

People will bring their “high-powered” lights to the night hike, he said, adding nighttime is indeed dark at the state park.

“You diminish the ability to see and hear any animals that would be in the area,” he said, adding that the moon provides lights. “You need to let your eyes adjust to the dark.”

It’s not a challenging hike, Lopes-Baca said, but suggested hikers bring weather appropriate jackets and water, maybe a thermos of coffee for the approximately 1.5-mile hike. Closed-toe shoes are a must.

Along with other state parks in the area, Caddo Lake State Park also will host a First Day Hike at 1 p.m. Wednesday, New Year’s Day.

The park underwent some upgrades in 2018, including rebuilding roads and improving RV spots, making some of them longer and wider.

“Now we’ve got some really nice spots for anybody who has an RV,” he said.

New shower and bathroom facilities also were built.

“We’re slowly but surely doing a lot of renovations,” Lopes-Baca said.

Tyler State Park

Boyd Sanders, a ranger at Tyler State Park, will lead hikes in the park Wednesday at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

He said the hike at 9 a.m. will be to look for birds along the 2-mile trail on the shores of the park’s spring-fed lake.

Participants should gather at the Silver Canoe Park Store and bring binoculars.

The hike at 2 p.m. will depart from camp’s Blackjack Camping Loop.

The hike will be along the challenging 3-mile Trail B.

Participants for both hikes are encouraged to bring water and wear appropriate clothing and shoes.

Other State Parks

Park entrance fees apply for all hikes. Here are some other area state parks with First Day Hikes planned:

  • Atlanta State Park — 1 p.m. Wednesday
  • Martin Creek State Park — 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday, Fourth Annual Tails to Trails, hike by yourself or with your pets
  • Daingerfield State Park — 10 a.m. Wednesday