Washington State Parks invites the public to start the New Year off with a First Day Hike on Monday, Jan. 1, at more than three dozen state parks across Washington.
“First Day Hikes are a fitting way to cap off the holidays and discover the off-season appeal of Washington’s state parks,” said Don Hoch, Washington state parks director. “This year parks are offering something for every fitness level and interest, including guided hikes with rangers, snowshoe treks and fat bike rides.”
First Day Hikes will take place in a diverse and dramatic range of landscapes and historic features, including coastal beaches, islands, waterfalls, lowland forests, lighthouses, geological points of interest and more.
Washington was among the first states in the nation to participate in First Day Hikes, a nationwide initiative organized by the National Association of State Parks Directors. Currently, all 50 state park systems participate in the effort. More information about the program and hikes being offered all over the country can be found at naspd.org/initiatives-special-programs/first-day-hikes/.
Jan. 1 also is the first of 12 Washington State Parks “free days” taking place in 2018. Park visitors will not need to display the Discover Pass on vehicles to access state parks for the New Year’s Day activities or for other state park visits on that day.
Most participating parks will offer refreshments following the outings, thanks to funding from the Seattle RV and Puyallup RV shows and the Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU).
More details about First Day Hikes are on Washington State Parks’ official blog, Adventure Awaits, at adventureawaits.com/253/2018-First-Day-Hikes-12-14-17
First Day Hikes at Washington state parks are scheduled as follows and are listed by county. Participants should plan for winter weather and dress appropriately, including sturdy footwear. Snacks and water are also recommended.
Columbia Plateau Trail State Park : Take an easy 3- to 4-mile round-trip walk along an old railroad bed. Enjoy views of the Snake River while learning about the flora, fauna and geology of the area. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Ice Harbor Dam Trailhead outside of Pasco. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1854 )
Fields Spring State Park : Strap on some snowshoes and take a ranger-guided, 2-mile trek. Learn about the history of Mr. Fields and also Mr. and Mrs. Puffer, of Puffer Butte fame. A limited number of snowshoes will be available for rent. A Sno-Park permit will be required. Meet at 10 a.m. at the trailhead near the Puffer Butte Lodge parking area at the end of Park Road. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/62 )
Lake Chelan State Park : Take a leisurely hike and learn about forest wildfire behavior, local wildlife and local park lore from a veteran park ranger. Meet at 10 a.m. at the park office. (Map: goo.gl/maps/CYcUJW5WK3y )
Lake Wenatchee State Park : Take a guided snowshoe hike along the Wenatchee River and through the park’s forests, and take in the view across Lake Wenatchee. Snowshoes are available for rent in limited youth and adult sizes; contact the park in advance if interested: 763-3101. Meet at 11 a.m. at the north park reservation booth. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1896 )
Battle Ground Lake State Park : Take a self-guided 1-mile hike around the lake—an ancient crater formed by a volcanic steam explosion. Meet at 2 p.m. at the park entrance booth. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1839 )
Palouse Falls State Park : Enjoy spectacular views of the official state waterfall and learn about area flora, fauna and geology on this ranger-led hike. Meet at 10 a.m. in the lower parking lot at the overlook. (Directions to park: goo.gl/maps/bU8ZTAzsZ6M2 )
Bridgeport State Park : Explore the flora, fauna and geology of this section of the Columbia River on this ranger-led 1/4-mile walk. Learn about the powerful natural forces that shaped the area. Meet at 9 a.m. at the park’s group camp parking area. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1845 )
Lincoln Rock State Park : Take a 2-mile hike along the Rocky Reach Trail and learn about the area geology and the history of the Rocky Reach Dam. Meet at 11 a.m. at the park’s day use area by the monument. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1904 )
Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park : The day will start off with a tour of the Dry Falls Visitor Center and an overview of the geology of the falls and the Ice Age Flood National Geologic Trail. Then, drive down to Sun Lakes for a 2-mile loop hike through desert sage brush and shrub-steppe habitat. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Dry Falls Visitor Center. (Park directions: https://goo.gl/maps/YoCNCMo55mG2 )
Grays Harbor County
Lake Sylvia State Park : Take a ranger-led hike through the old growth forest around this lowland lake. Volunteers will lead a shorter stroll as well. Learn about the history of the area and discuss native plants and wildlife. Meet at 1 p.m. at the park’s kitchen shelter day use area. (Park map: http://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1895 )
Westport Light State Park : Join a park ranger for a hike by the ocean. Take in sweeping views of Twin Harbors Beach and the Pacific Ocean. Meet at 10 a.m. at the park. (Park directions: goo.gl/maps/EofVmKMJSvB2 )
Cama Beach Historical State Park : The park is offering two options this year -- take one or both! The first is a leisurely ranger-led 3/4-mile walk -- ideal for the whole family, with opportunities to stop and take photos. You will learn about the history and the animals and plants of the area along the way. The second option, a little more strenuous, takes you on a guided hike through the coniferous forest and along the edge of the bluff with great views. This second option is just over 2 miles one way, with a shuttle service back to the trailhead. Meet at 11 a.m. for the first hike and at noon for the second hike. Both hikes take off from the park’s drop-off shelter. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1847 )
Camano Island State Park : Try your hand at geocaching on this family-friendly walk. Park staff will provide GPS units to use during this 1-mile walk, where you can hunt for treasures in six caches. Meet at 10 a.m. at the park cabins. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1848 )
Deception Pass State Park : Park staff will guide hikers around the Sand Dunes Interpretive Trail loop. This paved trail is ADA-accessible, stroller friendly and just over 1 mile. The trail provides views of the Salish Sea as it winds its way through dune forests, wetlands, sandy beaches and past one of the oldest trees in the park. Meet at 10 a.m. at the West Beach Shelter at West Beach. (Park directions: goo.gl/maps/fxzS3adJq1s )
Fort Ebey State Park : Get fit and learn about the region’s geological and biological history while hiking 2 miles through Kettle trails and forests. Meet at 9:30 a.m. for refreshments, 10 a.m. for the hike at the Beach access parking lot by the restrooms. (Park map: http://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1868 )
Dosewallips State Park: Take a 3-1/2-mile tour of the park’s dynamic forest-meets-estuary environment, and discover why it is so important to migrating elk herds and spawning salmon. Meet at 2 p.m. at the day use parking lot on the east side Highway 101. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1862 )
Nolte State Park : Bring the family along for this easy ranger-led 1/4-mile loop walk around the park’s Deep Lake. Meet at 10 a.m. at the park’s main bulletin board. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1914 )
Saltwater State Park : Join park staff for a brisk, nearly 2-mile stroll to experience the park’s flora, fauna and rich history -- including a tour of the displays in the Forest and Marine rooms within the park’s Civilian Conservation Corps cabin. Discover fun facts about Saltwater’s 90-year history. Meet at 10 a.m. at the CCC cabin. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1941 )
Lake Easton State Park : Bring your snowshoes for a 2-1/2-mile guided hike through the snow and learn about the winter wildlife of the area. Meet at 1 p.m. at the Lake Easton Sno-Park. A Sno-Park permit is required.
Olmstead Place Historical State Park : Grab your four-legged family member for this easy, dog-friendly, 1-mile group dog walk on the Altapes Creek Trail. Dogs must be well-behaved, socialized and on leash. Meet at 9 a.m. at the park’s north end parking lot. (Park map: http://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1918 )
Lewis and Clark State Park : Explore this beautiful old growth forest and learn about the area’s rich history and its abundant flora and fauna on this 2-mile walk. Meet at 10 a.m. at the main entrance gate to the park. (Park map: http://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1900 )
Alta Lake State Park : Take in the flora, fauna and geology of the lake and nearby Goat Mountain on this 2-mile, round-trip walk with a park ranger. The lake sits at the bottom of a glacially carved valley in a transition zone from mountain forest to desert. Meet at 1 p.m. at the park office. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1837)
Pearrygin Lake State Park : Choose your mode of transportation—fat bike, snowshoes or hiking boots—for a ride or hike through the shrub-steppe habitat on the Rex Derr Trail, much of which follows the lake’s shoreline. Enjoy a free barbecue lunch after the outing. Snowshoers/hikers leave at 10 a.m., and bikers leave at 10:30 a.m. Meet at the park office/shop compound. (Park map: http://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1924 )
Cape Disappointment State Park : Soak in the drama of the wild Pacific coast—where the ocean meets the Columbia River to create some of the wildest waters in the world! You’ll see it all on this 1-1/2 mile, ranger-led hike on the Coastal Loop Trail. Meet at 1 p.m. at the Central Loop parking lot. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1850 )
San Juan County
Lime Kiln Point State Park : Explore the natural, ancient and recent histories of this park on San Juan Island. Journey from the lighthouse to the park’s lime kiln and quarries. Keep hiking to Dead Man’s Bay for stunning views. Finish the day and warm up at the park’s interpretive center. Meet at 11 a.m. at the whale in front of the interpretive center. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1902 )
Moran State Park : Take a 3-mile guided stroll through the heart of Moran State Park. Wander through forest groves to picturesque bluffs and over an historic bridge spanning Cascade Lagoon. For the daring, cap off the outing with plunge in Cascade Lake. Meet at 9 a.m. at Cascade Lake day use shelter. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1910 )
Rasar State Park : Parks staff will lead a 1-mile walk to the Skagit River and give a brief history of the park, with the likelihood of encountering elk, eagles and other wildlife. Meet at 10 a.m. at the day use park lot shelter. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1933)
Rockport State Park : The park kicks off 2018 with its first Healthy Hikes event of the season. A local fitness instructor will lead the hike and include tips for warm-ups, stretching and healthy nutrition. Meet at 11 a.m. at the picnic shelter near the day-use restrooms. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1938 )
Beacon Rock State Park : Take a nearly 2-mile round trip hike up the big rock, and marvel at the nearly 100-year-old engineering feat of manpower that created the trail. Meet at 10 a.m. at the small picnic shelter across from the office, just west of the trailhead. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1840 )
Wallace Falls State Park : Parks staff will offer two hike options: a 1-1/2-mile stroll on the Small Falls Interpretive Trail with a focus on forest ecology and a 4-mile moderately difficult hike on the Woody Trail to Middle Falls with a focus on park features and history. Meet at 9:30 a.m. for the Interpretive Trail hike and at 10 a.m. for the Middle Falls hike. Both hikes leave from the parking area trailhead. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1960 )
Mount Spokane State Park: The park will offer two snowshoe hikes. For those new to snowshoeing, park staff will lead an easy 2-mile hike through cedar and hemlock forests. More experienced snowshoers can opt for a longer trek to the summit of Mount Spokane. For the easier hike, meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Lower Kit Carson Loop parking lot. For the summit trek, meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Lower Selkirk/Snomobile parking lot. A Sno-Park permit is required to park at both places. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1912 )
Riverside State Park : Hike along the Spokane River among towering Ponderosa Pines and massive basalt rock formations to the park’s geologically unique Bowl and Pitcher area. Learn about the park’s history, flora and fauna; spot wildlife; and venture across the park’s iconic CCC-built swinging bridge. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Bowl and Pitcher day use parking lot. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1937 )
Millersylvania State Park : Join a ranger-led hike around the park’s perimeter trail with stops at points of interest relating to the natural and cultural history of the park. Meet at 9 a.m. at Kitchen Shelter #1. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1909 )
Larrabee State Park : Follow the 2 Dollar Trail through an old growth forest up to the lovely Fragrance Lake. The hike will be of particular interest to those who enjoy identifying different types of ferns, trees and fungus. Meet at 9 a.m. at the 2 Dollar Trailhead on Cleator Road. (Park map: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1898 )