The Adventure: First Day Hikes 2016

Group of people riding fat tie bikes in the snow
December 17, 2015

How do 10,000 steps begin?

With just one footstep!

The season of resolution and renewal is nearly upon us. Are you thinking about stepping up to the challenge of getting in those recommended five miles per day but don’t want to face the (eek) treadmill? Put that first step down at a Washington state park! Ring in 2016 with one of more than two dozen First Day Hikes taking place in Washington state parks.

First Day Hikes are happening all across the nation on Jan. 1 and are organized in conjunction with America’s State Parks. Join the movement to welcome 2016 with healthy, active outdoor fun! New Year’s Day is also a Washington State Parks ’Free Day.’ You won’t need a Discover Pass to visit a state park. Many parks are offering multiple hikes sure to please a variety of abilities and interests! And don’t forget to get your First Day Hikes pin as a memento of your outing!

Ready to pick your First Day Hike? Read on to start planning your trip. And please share your photos and First Day Hike story with us after the event!

Please note: Phone numbers are provided in case you are concerned about a possible cancellation. Otherwise, just show up (unless registration is required). For more information about First Day Hikes in general, contact Becki Ellison, 360-902-8502. For directions to a park, follow the link to the state park web page.
Trip Planner...

North Central WA



Alta Lake State Park


Renewal: that’s the promise a new year holds. What better way to celebrate that spirit than a hike around a beautiful park in the throes of regeneration! Devastated by the 2014 Carlton Complex fire, Alta Lake State Park is on the mend, and the rebirth is exciting to see!

The park rests at the bottom of a glacially carved valley and is included in a transition zone of mountain forest to desert. In addition, this location is at the gateway to the gorgeous Methow Valley and near the confluence of the Columbia and Methow rivers.
You're all number one! Start the year off bright with a brisk hike or snowshoe trek at Lake Wenat
Explore the flora, fauna and geology of Alta Lake and the Goat Mountain region. We’ll discuss local history, the recent fire seasons and how to Leave No Trace while exploring the outdoors.

When: 1 p.m.
Where: Alta Lake State Park entrance booth
Minimum age: 5 years; strollers are not recommended.
Gear: Water, snack, warm layers and sturdy footwear. (Snowshoes or ice traction devices for shoes, such as Yaktrax, depending upon conditions.)
Difficulty: Moderate.
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (509) 923-2473

Bridgeport State Park


“What’s a haystack?” you ask. Find out at Bridgeport State Park, and learn even more about the wonders of the northern Columbia River region near Chief Joseph Dam. Explore the flora, fauna and geology of this section of the Columbia River with a park ranger. Witness evidence of the powerful geological forces that shaped this land.

When: 9 a.m.
Where: Meet at the boat launch parking lot.
What: 2-mile hike around Bridgeport State Park.
Gear: Water, snack, warm layers, sturdy footwear and binoculars. (Snowshoes or ice traction devices for shoes, such as Yaktrax, depending upon conditions.)
Difficulty: Easy.
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (509) 686-7231

Lake Wenatchee State Park


Lake Wenatchee State Park near Leavenworth transforms into one of the most popular Sno-Parks in Washington each winter. Bring snowshoes for this 2-mile journey along North Park Snowshoe Trail. Highlights include gorgeous scenery along the Wenatchee River, the shore of Lake Wenatchee and the forested trail. If there is not enough snow, plan on hiking rather than snowshoeing.

When: 11 a.m.
Where: Lake Wenatchee State Park North Park Sno-Park. Entrance is located 4.5 miles from Hwy 2 on Hwy 207 / Lake Wenatchee Highway. We will meet just beyond the contact station.
What: You’ll need a Seasonal Sno-Park Permit and Special Groomed Trail Permit OR a One-Day Sno-Park Permit. Get a permit online.
Gear: Snowshoes and appropriate winter clothing. Dress in layers. Bring snacks and water.
Note: Hike is subject to change or cancellation depending on snow and weather conditions. Call the park a few days prior to confirm details.
Difficulty: Easy
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Additional information: Stick around until 2 p.m. for the Annual Polar Bear Dip at the South Park—if you dare! Brrrr…..
Cancellation Info: (509) 763-3101

Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park


Explore Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park in the winter. We will walk the upper park meadow and explore one of Washington State Parks’ plant nurseries. Learn about horticulture, State Parks stewardship and staff’s vision for sustainable management of our resources. The hike will follow along the meadow, where participants will be able to look into forests burned by the First Creek Fire, while hearing about fire suppression and forest management. The trek will conclude at the vacation house, where free snacks will be available.

When: 11 a.m.
Where: Meet at the park entrance; from there, we will caravan to “Ranger’s Rest,” the park’s vacation house.
Minimum age: If you can carry them, they can come.
Gear: Wear warm clothes, and dress in layers.
Note: Please RSVP to (509) 687-3710 or e-mail Lake.Chelan@Parks.Wa.Gov.
Difficulty: Easy.
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (509) 687-3710

Pearrygin Lake State Park


The fat bike phenomenon has hit Methow Valley, and Pearrygin Lake State Park is a great place to give it a try! Take a First Day “Bike” ride in the park with local fat tire bike enthusiasts. Ride through the shrub steppe on the Rex Derr Trail with views overlooking Pearrygin Lake. Drop down to tour the park, looking and listening for evidence of winter wildlife—including tracks, bird songs and howls. Prefer to go on foot? Bring your snowshoes, and head out along the same trail ahead of the bikers.

When we’re done riding and snowshoeing, we’ll have a free barbecue-style lunch, cocoa, coffee and social time at the park’s headquarters. You’re welcome to stay and play in the snow following the hike and ride.

When: Snowshoe hike begins at 10 a.m. Bike ride begins at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Meet at the east Welcome Center.
Gear: Fat bike, warm layers, gloves, hat, water and snack. (If you don’t own a fat bike, Methow Cycle and Sport in Winthrop has rentals available.) For the snowshoe trip, bring all the same gear, plus snowshoe gear (minus the fat bike)!
Difficulty: Moderate for riders and snowshoers alike, depending on weather conditions.
Pets: Best to leave pets at home.
Additional information: Please call the park ahead of time if you wish to participate in the barbecue following the ride and snow shoe treks.
Cancellation and Confirmation Info: (509) 996-2370

Lincoln Rock State Park


Hike back to the Ice Age! Bring your boots or your bike and we’ll head out for a three-mile trek down the Rocky Reach Trailhead. We’ll break at a couple of interpretive outlooks along the way to learn about the history of the park, the Rocky Reach Dam and the Ice Age Floods that shaped the valley. Bring that camera! There’s lots of photo ops and picturesque vistas! We’ll make our way back through the park’s new deluxe cabin loop and you can finish up your first day fun with tour of a new cabin, which will be available for vacation rentals in 2016! This is a great family hike and all ages are welcome.

When: 11 a.m.
Where: Meet at the Lincoln Rock boat launch parking area.
Gear: Cold weather clothing and warm layers. Hiking or biking is welcome, however the forecast is for temperatures in the 20s. The trail may be covered in snow. Please bring appropriate hiking and/or cycling gear for the conditions.
Difficulty: Easy with some moderate uphill walking.
Pets: Yes (on a leash).
Cancellation info: This event will NOT be cancelled. Park staff will be on site to lead the event.

North Puget Sound



Cama Beach State Park


Take a trip—or two—around Cama Beach State Park. This year, the park is hosting two hikes that are sure to please. The fun begins at noon with a family-friendly 3/4-mile stroll around Welcome Center Loop. We’ll make frequent stops for photo ops and allow plenty of time to answer questions about the local history, flora and fauna. Use your eagle eyes to spot the three eyries (birds of prey nests) from the viewing platforms!

Looking for something more brisk? Get your New Year’s resolution going early on a cardio-challenge with a view! Travel through the forest and along the high bluff. Drink in the views of Saratoga Passage, Whidbey Island and the Olympic Mountains. Stop at the viewing platforms for a bird’s-eye view of the park, then continue through the forest where you can still see stumps of trees logged more than a century ago.
A perfect New Year's Day is just a stone's skip away at Deception Pass State Park!

When: First hike: Noon. Second hike: 2 p.m.
Where: Shuttle drop-off shelter.
Gear: Clothing for weather conditions, sturdy shoes, hat, gloves and water.
Restrictions: Outdoor strollers would be able to navigate both trails. However, the 2 p.m. hike may be too strenuous for young hikers.
Difficulty: First hike: Easy. Second hike: Moderate.
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (425) 312-4716

Camano Island State Park


This year the park is offering two great hikes! At just shy of 3 miles, the short noon-hour hike on the Camano Island State Park Loop Trail will be primarily for exercise with minimal stops. This trail offers hikers a variety of scenery. The trail begins by a small freshwater marsh area and travels up a fern grotto to the bluff, with views of the Olympic Mountains. Along the way, you’ll pass old growth and yew trees in the forested Howard Adams section of the loop. From the South Rim Trail—on a clear day—you can look to the south for a dramatic view of Mount Rainier.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll during the second hike at 2 p.m. along the Al Emerson Nature Trail. The tour will stop for plenty of breaks and photo ops, description of the area, the history, animals and plants. Travel through the yew, big leaf maple, fir and cedar. See if you can spot evidence from early 1900’s logging!

After both hikes, light snacks will be served at the group camp.

When: First hike: Noon. Second hike: 2 p.m.
Where: Group cabins for both hikes.
Gear: Sturdy shoes, warm clothing, hat, gloves and water. Steps along fern grotto section make stroller access difficult on the first hike. The second hike is mostly flat and navigable by stroller.
Difficulty: First hike: Moderate. Second hike: Easy.
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (425) 312-4716

Deception Pass State Park


Get a taste of the island life Pacific Northwest style! Spanning two islands in the Salish Sea, Deception Pass State Park is connected by the historic Deception Pass Bridge. Bring your camera! On this two-mile hike out to Hoypus Point and back, you’ll pass some of the most iconic and breathtaking views in the state. The flat trail offers uninterrupted vistas of the bridge, Mt. Erie and an impressive collection of islands. This hike is on, rain or shine. Your park manager and interpretive naturalist guides will share thoughts, insights, history pictures and more along the way.

When: 10 a.m.
Where: Cornet Bay Boat Launch
Gear: Water and appropriate clothing for weather and trail conditions.
Difficulty: Moderate.
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: Check the Deception Pass Foundation website.

South Whidbey State Park


South Whidbey State Park is offering not one, but four hikes from which to choose! Get in-depth insights into this island emerald of a park! Bring the whole family for a hike through the lush forest and learn more about the park’s new interpretive trail, the native flora and the local bird life!

Then enjoy hot cider, tea and hot cocoa as well as some seasonal treats. The Friends of South Whidbey State Park will have on display Craig Johnson’s book, “Harry the Woodpecker Searches for a Home” for the kids. There will be a group photo at 10:15 a.m., and everyone will get home in time for the games!

Forest Discovery Trail:
This family-friendly hike, led by teacher and artist Lauren Atkinson, will inspire and encourage enjoyment of the outdoors for all ages.
Length: 0.7 mile

Wilbert Trail: The Wilbert Trail is getting beautiful new interpretive signs in Spring 2016. Get a preview of what they’ll reveal about this forest with Sue Ellen White of Friends of South Whidbey State Park.
Length: 0.9 miles

Wilbert Trail: “Ancient Forest Ecology and What Native Plants Tell us About the Environment.” Take a closer look at native plants and forest ecosystems as a whole along the Wilbert Trail. Hike leaders Steve Erickson and Marianne Edain are experienced botanists.
Length: 0.9 miles
Difficulty: (first three hikes): Easy.
Gear: Weather-appropriate clothing and a camera.

Beach Trail : “Winter Birds of South Whidbey State Park.” Take the Beach Trail with Audubon member and birding expert Linda Bainbridge and learn about the birds that inhabit the park during the winter.
Length: 0.8 mile round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate
Gear: Weather-appropriate clothing and a spotting scope or binoculars

When: 10 a.m.
Where: In front of the Ranger House
  Minimumage: Children of all ages are welcome.
Gear: Water bottle, warm clothes, walking shoes and a walking pole
Difficulty: Listed with each hike above.
Pets? Yes (on leash)
Cancellation Info: John Leaser, (360) 222-3991

Eastern WA



Mount Spokane State Park


Mount Spokane State Park is another winter gem that transforms into a Sno-park during winter. This snowshoe hike is perfect for kids of all ages—and adults, too! Head out on Trail 130 for a 2- to 4-mile round-trip adventure.
 
When: 10 a.m.
Where: Snowmobile parking lot
What: You’ll need a Seasonal Sno-Park Permit or a One-Day Sno-Park Permit. Get a permit online.
Gear: Snowshoes and any gear for being in the snow for half a day. Don’t forget sunglasses!
Difficulty: Moderate
Cancellation Info: (509) 238-4258
In winter Riverside State Park is a marshmallow world! Experience a whole new side to this pine fore

Riverside State Park


Combine a great workout, an outdoor adventure and a history lesson? You betcha! If the weather is cooperative, we’ll head through the Ponderosa pines and down the Deep Creek Interpretive Trail. If the snow is deep, your ranger guide will take you down Centennial Trail. Gain a deeper understanding of the Riverside State Park environment and an insight into the men who served in the Civilian Conservation Corps and who built this gem of a mountain forest park.

When: 1 p.m.
Where: Deep Creek parking lot, N. State Park Drive (off of 7 Mile Road).
Gear: Warm clothes, gloves, camera, water, hiking boots or shoes and possibly snowshoes.
Difficulty: Moderate.
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (509) 465-5064 or to contact the on-duty ranger the day of the hike call (509) 850-5109.

Hood Canal



Dosewallips State Park


Dosewallips State Park is a saltwater delta with all the trimmings of a classic northwest forest. The 3.5-mile Steam Donkey Loop Trail leads you through conifers, alder and maple. Benches along the way provide a perfect relaxed setting, just in case you brought a few holiday leftovers for lunch.

Bring your boots – you’ll be skipping across creeks and along the rocky shore. And don’t forget your binoculars! Large herds of Roosevelt elk are frequently spotted grazing in the park. (Tips on how to view elk–from a distance!)

Unique and beautiful! Dosewallips is rich with both forest and coastal features.
When: 11 a.m.
Where: Day-use shelter.
Gear: Water, weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy waterproof shoes.
Difficulty: Moderate.
Dogs: Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (360) 796-4415

Potlatch State Park


Hike beyond. Potlatch State Park was known to the Skokomish Indian Tribe as Enetai, which means “beyond.” And it truly is beyond…amazing! Meet with Ranger Eric Hendricks, and walk through old-growth fir and down to the shellfish beach. Breathe deep as you look out over the Hood Canal waters and imagine what the new year will bring. A potlatch is a native gift-giving ceremony. This beautiful place that served as a source of food and shelter for native people for centuries is now a lesser-known gem and a “gift” of a park! Come experience it!

When: 10 a.m.
Where: At the north side of the day-use area by the beach kitchen shelter.
Gear: Weather appropriate clothing, rain gear and / or umbrella.
Difficulty: Easy.
Dogs: Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info (360) 796-4415

Twanoh State Park


 Discover Hood Canal in winter! Get a feel for the natural and cultural history of Twanoh State Park by hiking out on 2.25 miles of forested trail. You’ll see Twanoh Creek (a hot spot for salmon spawning in the autumn), structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s and, of course, Hood Canal. The trail can be a bit muddy this time of year.

When: 10 a.m.
Where: Campground.
Gear: Weather-appropriate clothing, boots or weather-proof shoes (athletic shoes are not recommended), water, camera and a desire to have a great time.
Difficulty: Moderate.
Pets:? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (360) 275-2222

Northwest WA



Lime Kiln Point State Park


Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan Island is world renown as one of the best places to watch whales from the shore. And even though January isn’t whale-watching season, the Lime Kiln Trail still offers a dramatic view of the rocky shore, Haro Strait and Vancouver Island. Bring the whole family for a 2.5-mile hike along this trail. Then get a whole new perspective as we take this tour to the top of Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse! After our hike, we’ll all enjoy hot chocolate, juice and treats!
Roll with a ranger and you'll get to know even more. Stop in to Wallace Falls State Park for a fa
When: 1 p.m.
Where: Interpretive Center.
Gear: Water, camera.
Difficulty: Moderate/strenuous.
Pets? Yes (on a leash).
Cancellation Info: (360) 378-2044
Note: Trail is not ADA compliant.

Wallace Falls State Park


Did you know that Wallace Falls State Park actually comprises nine waterfalls? Kick off the new year with a 2-mile hike by way of Woody Trail to Middle Falls, by far the most impressive of the falls with a 265-foot drop. In 2013, we featured Wallace Falls as one of our five amazing waterfall hikes for the rainy season. Here’s your chance to check it out! The hike to the Middle Falls will take approximately 1-1/2 hours. After this time, you are welcome to continue the hike past Middle Falls. The tour will stop at a few points along the trail for a break, and the ranger will talk about the park and answer questions.

When: 10 a.m.
Where: Woody Trail.
Gear: Sturdy footwear, layered clothing, food and water.
Difficulty: Moderate.
Pets:? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (360) 793-0420

Rockport State Park


The mystery and beauty of an ancient forest—what could be a more magical way to start your new year? Rockport State Park’s 670-acres have never been logged, so the thick canopy barely allows light to penetrate to the verdant forest floor. Drink in the moss-and-fern-covered beauty of this unique and beautiful place on one of four spectacular hikes.
For a quick hike in the morning, head out on one of three short jaunts around the 0.4-mile Sauk Springs Loop Trail starting at 10, 11 and noon.

Or at 1 p.m., hike the 3-mile Evergreen Loop Trail in Rockport State Park and find yourself in an ancient, 400-year-old-growth forest amongst towering Douglas-firs and red cedars. We recommend this hike for people ages 10 and older. Stop in at the park’s Discovery Center to warm up by the fire, enjoy refreshments and check out the crafts, interactive wildlife displays and books on display.

When: 10 and 11 a.m. and noon for the Sauk Springs Trail. 1 p.m. for the Evergreen Trail.
Where: Discovery Center
Gear: Rain gear—depending on weather—dress in layers, and wear boots for very wet and muddy trails.
Difficulty: First hikes: Easy. Fourth hike: Moderate
Pets? Yes (on leash)
Cancellation Info: (360) 853-8461

Olympic Peninsula



Fort Flagler Historical State Park


Recharge at our batteries! Gather your troops and head out to Fort Flagler State Park this Jan. 1! We’re marching out for a 3-mile round-trip hike along the Bluff Trail. Gather some intel on pre-air warfare America’s military endeavors as you explore the gun batteries with your ranger guide. Don’t forget the binoculars! Along the way you’ll witness some amazing views across Port Townsend Bay and Admiralty Inlet. All ages welcome to enlist on this great hike!

When: 11 a.m.
Where: Park Office.
Gear: Warm clothes and camera.
Difficulty: Easy.
Cancellation info: (360) 385-1259
Grab a friend and explore the solid military awesomeness that is Fort Worden.

Fort Worden Historical State Park


Take a hike through history up to Artillery Hill and in and out of multiple coastal defense gun batteries that are all part of Fort Worden State Park. The hike starts off with a brief historical talk and then hikers can explore on their own. Kids ages 12 and older are welcome to join in on the fun; those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The hike is a little more than a mile long.

When: 1 p.m.
Where: Memory’s Vault, by the start of Artillery Hill. If you’re visiting for the first time, give yourself 20 minutes before the event, and ask for directions at the Coast Artillery Museum, next door to the park office.
Gear: Flashlight for visiting the bunkers.
Difficulty: Moderate.
Pets? Yes. (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (360) 385-0373 (Coastal Artillery Museum)

Seattle – Tacoma Area



Cedar Butte: Olallie & Iron Horse State Parks


Join park ranger Rick Oakley on a hike to the top of Cedar Butte, and learn about the events that led up to the Boxley Burst, a pre-Christmas flood in 1918 that permanently wiped out the logging town of Edgewick. The 3-mile round trip hike climbs 900 feet and offers panoramic views from Mount Si to Mailbox Peak. Minimum age for this hike is 10 years old.
 
When: 10 a.m.
Where: Cedar Falls Trailhead in Iron Horse State Park Trail, 19500 Cedar Falls Rd SE, North Bend Gear: Water, snacks, hiking boots, trekking pole(s) and rain gear.
Difficulty: Moderate. The trail is fairly steep and can be quite muddy.
Pets? No
NOTE: Registration is required. Register at CedarButteHike.eventbrite.com.
Cancellation Info: (425) 766-4707
Tiptoe through the fiddle heads! Dash Point State Park makes a verdant backdrop for an awesome New Y

Dash Point State Park


Go green – literally! Open your new year with an easy hike—or even two—on Dash Point State Park’s verdant Fern Alley Interpretive Walk! Stroll a mile through the understory of enormous ferns out to the park’s pond. Head back along the Hoyt Trail as you discuss the flora and fauna of the region. Park volunteer Bob Brown will lead a Junior Ranger program for the kids at the amphitheater at 11 a.m.

When: 10 a.m. (Nature Walk) & 12 p.m. (Explore the Beach).
Where: Campground amphitheater for nature walk and the beach for exploring the beach.
Gear: Warm clothes and sturdy shoes.
Difficulty: Easy.
Minimum age: 4 years.
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (206) 786-8435

Flaming Geyser State Park


We’ll be diving into history and river habitat as we walk a mile through Green River forest country in Flaming Geyser State Park The park’s namesake methane “geyser” has gone out. But this park’s still a hot ticket! Explore the area around the former bubbling geyser and the day-use area. Learn about the park’s role in regional mining history, and learn about the local flora and fauna. You must be able to navigate a steep staircase for this hike.

When: 10:30 a.m.
Where: Shelter 2.
Gear: Rain gear and sturdy shoes.
Minimum age: 6 years.
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation info: (253) 735-8839

Nolte State Park


We just love forested, lakeside hikes, and Nolte State Park’s Lake Trail around Deep Lake is a lovely, easy 1-1/4-mile-loop. It’s a great pick for families! Start out from the parking area along the trail. The hike will continue around the lake through the forested Green River Gorge. You’ll likely spot woodland animals along the way, and your guide will discuss forest and lake ecology.

When: 10:30 a.m.
Where: Meet at the main bulletin board.
Gear: Sturdy footwear, layered clothing, food and water.
Difficulty: Easy.
Pets? Yes. (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (360) 886-0148

Saltwater State Park


Hike a mile through history at Saltwater State Park: Explore the legacy and influence of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)—a service program started in 1933 during the Great Depression to conserve natural resources and provide employment for young out-of-work men. The CCC built much of the park. Traverse down to the beach area for a more in-depth glimpse into the CCC’s history. And learn the role Saltwater State Park played in forging a friendship between the rival cities of Seattle and Tacoma. Open House Tour of the CCC Cabin will be from 10 – noon.

When: 10 a.m. (Nature walk) & 12 p.m. (Explore the Beach)
Where: Meet at the CCC Cabin for nature walk and the beach for explore the beach
Gear: Warm clothes, sturdy footwear
Difficulty: Easy
Pets? Yes (on leash)
Cancellation Info: (253) 661-4955

Saint Edward State Park


Friends…is your human getting out of shape? Want to motivate them? Why not take them out for some walkies this New Year’s Day at St. Edward State Park! Bring your leash (and potty bags) and tour the park with your person. What trail you take will depend a lot on the weather and where your nose feels like taking you. Wherever you decide to go, the nice lady from the Friend’s of St. Edward State Park will be helping your person tour this verdant and historic park, which features the longest undeveloped stretch of Lake Union shoreline. Bonus, your human will learn a lot about this park and volunteer opportunities so you can get out more often. Weather predictions are for a “sunny” day in the Seattle area, but don’t forget these trails will give you muddy paws. Make sure your human wears good shoes. Tip: don’t chew your human’s hiking shoes before the first.

When:
10 a.m.
Where: Meet in front of the gymnasium.
Gear: Fur for you and appropriate dress for Seattle area weather and good hiking boots for humans.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate, depending on chosen path.
Humans?: Yes (on leash)
Cancellation info: (360) 319-884

Southwest WA



Cape Disappointment State Park


The dramatic view overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River from Cape Disappointment State Park is hard to beat! This First Day Hike, led by Interpretive Specialist Aaron Webster, will explore the wild coastline overlooking the Columbia River Bar. Learn how waves, currents and tides interact in this dynamic environment.
Cape Disappointment State Park experiences some of the most awe-inspiring coastal weather in the wor
When: 11 a.m.
Where: Meet at Benson Beach Amphitheater parking lot
Gear: Dress appropriately for winter, coastal weather. Anticipate wind and rain. Good footwear suggested for walking on sand. Bring a bottle of water, binoculars and camera.
Difficulty: Easy.
Pets:? Yes (on leash)
Cancellation Info: (360) 642-3029 (Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center)

Lake Sylvia State Park


Lake Sylvia State Park is a perfect place for lowland hiking anytime during the winter—and why not New Year’s Day? You’ll love the idyllic lake setting and the old-growth forest trails. A park ranger will lead a 2-mile hike along the trail that loops around Lake Sylvia. A volunteer from the Friends of Schafer and Lake Sylvia (FOSLS) will lead a shorter stroll as well. Learn about the history of the Lake Sylvia area and discuss native plants and wildlife. FOSLS will provide cocoa and cookies.

When: 1 p.m.
Where: Kitchen area.
Gear: Water bottle, warm clothing, good hiking shoes or boots and umbrella (if needed).
Difficulty: Easy.
Pets? Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (360) 249- 3621

Westport Light State Park


Sometimes winter can be the best time of year to visit the ocean. Join us for an easy 2.6-mile hike at Westport Light State Park. You’ll learn a lot on this hour-long trek! Your ranger guide will talk about the history of the area and provide some insight into the dynamic coastline. Travel to Point Chehalis and take in the sweeping views of Twin Harbors Beach and the Pacific Ocean. Children of all ages are welcome to join. (A 1.3-mile optional tour with a shuttle vehicle will also be available.)

When: 10 a.m.
Where: Meet at the park bulletin board.
Gear: Appropriate winter clothing. Dress in layers. Bring water.
Difficulty: Easy
Dogs: Yes (on leash).
Cancellation Info: (360) 267-4301
Note: Hike is subject to change or cancellation depending on weather conditions. Call the park a few days prior to confirm details.

Millersylvania State Park


Ready for some cardio action? Take a 5K Run with Ranger Ross on Millersylvania State Park’s Perimeter Trail. While you’re setting a pace, check out the great forest scenery, historic Civilian Conservation Corps buildings and the beautiful Deep Lake.

When: 9 a.m.
Where: Kitchen Shelter #1.
Gear: Running shoes, layered clothing appropriate for the winter weather and water.
Difficulty: Moderate.
Pets: No.
Cancellation Info: (360) 753-1519

Many of the parks will provide refreshments for First Day hikers. Unless otherwise noted at the venue, the goodies are made possible by funding from the Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) and the Manufactured Home Recreational Vehicle Association (MHRV).

Are you a First Day Hikes veteran?
We want to know! Share your Washington state park photos and story from last year’s hike here.

Celebrating New Year’s Day in another state?
There’s likely a First Day Hike near you. Find one on America’s State Parks’ website.

There are more events at Washington state parks waiting for you…
Find park hosted and partner events on the State Parks events calendar.