First Day Hike set for Friday | News

MOODY — Central Texas residents are expected to come out multiple state parks in large numbers Friday for the annual First Day Hike event.

Mother Neff State Park in Moody will once again be participating in the annual event this year, although in a more socially distanced way. As opposed to previous years, attendees to this year’s hike will not be led by a guide but rather will be allowed to walk the park trails by themselves.

The park, 1921 Park Road 14, will be open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on New Year’s Day for visitors.

In previous years, attendees would sign up as part of large groups that would be guided around either the hill section of the park or the plains region. Due to the non-socially distanced nature of this format, the park moved to self-guided tours this year.

Park visitors are being required to wear face masks when inside the park buildings, and maintain a distance of at least six feet between hiking parties.

The park has also limited the size of groups walking the trails to no more than 10 individuals that are not part of the same household.

The park has had some of the highest attendance rates for First Day Hikes compared to all other parks.

Mother Neff, which sits on 259 acres of land, was the first state park established in Texas.

Visitors are able to explore 3.5 miles of hiking trails on the land, which has both natural scenery and structures previously built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Melissa Chadwick, park superintendent, said attendees who visit the park are able to come to the visitor center before they leave for a small memento of their visit this year.

Those attending the event will need to either purchase a day pass at the park or online, as park officials are trying to limit the number of visitors coming in at one time. People are able to purchase a day pass online for $2 at

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