WATERBURY, VT. >> The Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation says one way to start the New Year on the right foot is by taking a hike.

The department is offering free family hikes in state parks and forests around Vermont on Friday.

The so-called first day hikes are planned in Colchester, Grand Isle, Plainfield, Quechee, Stowe, Underhill, Waterbury and Wilmington. No registration is required.

The hikes are led by professional guides and outdoor educators. Hikers are advised to dress for the weather and to bring a beverage and snack and snowshoes if there is a lot of snow.

Information about the hikes can be found online at www.vtstateparks.com . The status of the hikes can be checked by calling 802-249-1230.