First Day Hikes are part of a national initiative to encourage people to spend time outdoors. (photo/Iowa Department of Natural Resources)

Iowans who enjoy the outdoors endure a range of weather extremes, but the coming cold is too much for even the hardiest hikers.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Eastern Iowa today, with snowfall ranging from 1 to 6 inches, followed by a prolonged wind chill advisory.

That advisory, with wind chills from 15 below zero to 30 below zero, extends through Tuesday morning.

The Weather Service warns that frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin; a warning that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources took to heart.

Here is the notice the DNR issued this afternoon:

With temperatures predicted to dip well below zero, the Iowa DNR has decided to cancel First Day Hikes at 27 state parks scheduled for New Year’s Day.

“While it’s a great disappointment to us to cancel this event, the safety of park visitors comes first,” said Todd Coffelt, State Parks Bureau Chief. “We know that frost bite can set in fairly quickly at those cold temperatures, so we are using caution in making this decision.”

First Day Hikes are part of a national initiative to encourage people to spend time outdoors. Last year in Iowa, more than 1,200 people participated in hikes across the state.

“We definitely will plan on hosting hikes again next year, and anyone can visit state parks during the winter and enjoy the beautiful scenery that’s unique to this time of year,” said Coffelt.

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First Day Hikes were scheduled to take place at the following 27 parks:


Big Creek State Park
Dolliver Memorial State Park
Gitchie Manitou State Preserve
Ledges State Park
Lewis and Clark State Park
Prairie Rose State Park
Springbrook State Park
Stone State Park


Green Valley State Park
Lake Anita State Park
Viking Lake State Park
Waubonsie State Park
Wilson Island State Recreation Area


Elk Rock State Park
Honey Creek Resort State Park
Lacey-Keosauqua State Park
Lake Darling State Park
Lake Wapello State Park
Walnut Woods State Park


Bellevue State Park
Cedar Rock State Park
Maquoketa Caves State Park
Mines of Spain State Recreation Area
Pikes Peak State Park
Pine Lake State Park
Volga River State Recreation Area
Yellow River State Forest