5 Things to Do Outdoors in Metro Phoenix This January 2016

With January come ideas for resolutions and chances at new beginnings. Perhaps you're ready to say goodbye to 2015 and ready to get fit in 2016. Or maybe you’re just looking to get outside, see some new things, and have a little fun while you’re at it. Either way, here are five great ways to get started.  

New Year's Day Slow Ride
January 1
The Trailhead Bike Café will be ringing in the first day of the New Year with a slow ride pub-crawl. So, grab your bike and head down to the café. This ride will begin at noon with a four-stop tour including Carlos O’ Briens, Joyride, Feeney’s and a final stop at Moto. This is a great way to start the New Year off with friends and family. There is no charge to participate, but food and drink are available for purchase at each stop.

First Day Hikes
January 1

This event will be held across America by the National Association of State Park Directors. It's an opportunity to start the New Year off on the right foot by hitting the trails and getting out into nature. These are guided hikes and Arizona alone will be offering 20 hikes in 18 different parks throughout the state. The closest to Phoenix are the Lost Dutchman Treasure Loop Trail hike, which begins at 9 a.m., and a two-hour guided walk through Boyce Thompson Arboretum at 10 a.m. As mentioned, there are many First Day hikes happening throughout the state. So, wherever you happen to be this New Year, head to Arizona State Parks and find your trail.

Fourth Annual Polar Bear Plunge
January 9

If you’re looking for fun ways to give back to the community this January while embracing the frigid temperatures that winter brings, then you'll want to step up to The Lakes of Tempe’s 4th Annual Polar Bear Plunge. The event supports recreational and social opportunities for the local special needs community. This frosty plunge will begin with registration at 8 a.m. and the big moment will happen one hour later. It is $20 to take the plunge. In addition to getting soaked and giving to a good cause, you will also receive a T-shirt, snacks, hot beverages, and a chance to win some cool raffle prizes. Cue The Pointer Sisters' 1983 hit, "Jump."

Moonlight Hike at Estrella Mountain Regional Park
January 22

Enjoy a guided moonlit hike in the beautiful Estrella Mountain Regional Park. Located where the Gila and Aqua Fria Rivers meet in the Southwest Valley, this hike highlights wetlands as well as seemingly untouched desert landscapes. Also referred to as Star Mountains, the Estrella Mountain Range carries with it great history dating back to the 1800s and it is said to have gold buried in it. Hayes Peak, the highest in the range standing at 4,512 feet, often accumulates a bit of snow during the winter months, a generally uncommon sight this close to the Valley. The hike begins at 7 p.m. and will meet at the Nature Center. Be sure to bring warm clothes, good hiking shoes or boots, and water. 

The Color Run Tempe
January 23

Touted as the “Happiest 5K on the Planet," The Color Run has quickly become the single largest event series in the world since it started in 2011. This race is in the business of promoting healthy, happy lifestyles while simultaneously building a sense of community wherever it goes. Having fun is what this race is all about, and it is set up for any runner of any experience level. In short, this is not a timed event and no one will be keeping score. Instead, participants are asked to wear all-white clothing at the starting line because as they move through the race they will be splashed with different colors at each kilometer marking. There will be a post-race celebration including music, dancing, and continued chromatic showers.