By Natalie Keller
As the leaves change color and fall to the ground, state parks near Sioux Falls are offering Halloween and fall-themed hikes before Jack Frost comes to town.
Naturalist Cortney Reedy has been working at Good Earth State Park for two years. Located southeast of Sioux Falls, the park offers mostly fall-themed hikes, but she says, there will be a Halloween-themed hike this year.
The third annual “Spirits of the Forest” hike will take place on October 9 and 10 around 7 p.m. Attendees can enjoy hot cider around a campfire after the hike has concluded.
Reedy says it’s a night hike that allows participants to experience the elements of the forest in a different way. The hope is for hikers to become more comfortable with the park, especially in the dark.
“We put wind chimes in the trees and we put little medallions in the forest and it’s just to kind of help people see it come alive,” Reedy said.
The Halloween-themed hike at the park is called the “Canine Halloween Hike and Costume Contest.” This hike starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 24.
Reedy said it’s a costume contest for dogs with judges awarding prizes to the best-dressed. Attendees are able to dress up if they would like as well. There will be a short hike to show off the dogs’ costumes after the contest.
South of Good Earth State Park is Newton Hills State Park. Assistant Park Manager John Dummer of says the park will host its fall-themed “Candlelight Walk” on Saturday, October 3 from 7:15 to 9:30 p.m.
Candles will be placed along the forest path where participants will come across entertainers and musicians and can also play games.
Dummer explains that the route is about 2.2 miles and normally over 900 people attend. This will be the sixteenth year Newton Hills State Park has offered the hike.
“It’s something truly amazing, especially if you have never walked along a candlelit road out in the woods before – which for most people, it probably has never happened, especially since three percent of land in South Dakota is classified as ‘forested,’” Dummer said.
Program naturalist Sandy Richter at the Outdoor Campus says their “Super Hero Halloween Hike” will run from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 17. The Outdoor Campus is located in south Sioux Falls.
Read the full article in the October issue of 605 Magazine, or click here.