Hikes of the Week
Explore seasonal hikes featured on the WTA website in 2014. Be sure to follow the links to see full hike descriptions, driving directions and Trip Reports in our Hiking Guide. You can also access our Hike of the Week archives for 2008, 2009, 2010 , 2011, 2012 and 2013.
More than 8 miles of hiking trails wind around Millersylvania State Park, a quiet escape just south of Olympia. Make your own loop through the peaceful forest, across wetlands and beside Deep Lake. Tuck in here for a weekend of early-season camping or break up the drive between Portland and Seattle with a stroll or trail run.
Lime Kiln State Park, best known as a whale watching destination, makes a great island getaway year round. Hike along the rocky beach to the lighthouse and have a picnic lunch before turning inland to stroll the more wooded park trails. If you're after more hiking miles, add a visit to Mount Finlayson. Make a weekend of it by trying for one of 20 spots at the nearby campground operated by San Juan County Parks.
Get out and stretch your legs along this gentle, scenic section of the Klickitat Trail, a 31-mile rail-turned-trail in southern Washington. Admire the Ponderosa pines in the Swale Canyon section, and in a week or two, keep your eyes peeled for first wildflowers of the season.
Shake the February doldrums and stretch your arms to the expansive skies of the White Bluffs south slope. The area offers a breathtaking desert landscape awaiting your discovery. Particularly fascinating are the bluffs themselves, which boast intricate patterns created by sand and clay layers, as well as the mighty Columbia River and the enormous Great Valley.
Shuck off the week's stresses in the short, scenic climb up to Big Rock. Winter transforms the wide views south over the Palouse to Steptoe Butte and north over the Spokane Valley and Mount Spokane. If you want to turn this 2.5-mile hike into a longer stroll or a training hike, extend it on the Iller Creek Trail.
This 5-mile low-elevation river hike brings new wonders with every season. Hike through old growth forest and past beaver ponds until the trail opens up into big river valley views of soaring snow-capped peaks. Go prepared for some snow and slush, and if you're hiking with a leashed dog, you'll need to turn around at the National Park boundary.
Head over the river and through the woods to an incredible view from Big Hump on this classic Olympic adventure. If you haven't visited the Duckabush since before the burn there (and WTA's multi-year efforts to help repair the trails there), the process of a forest in recovery makes for a fascinating, frosty hike.
Reports of trumpeter swans and eagles mean it's time for a Skagit Valley visit. At Padilla Bay, you'll be treated to flocks of frolicking shore birds and views of the islands and Mount Baker. If you have kiddos in tow, try to work in a stop at nearby Breazelale Interpretive Center
A gorgeous winter destination, Northrup Canyon's tall sagebrush retains a silvery-green hue and the grasses are golden. Winter is also eagle-watching season in the Grand Coulee, so take binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for the bald eagles who winter here. Want more? Camp at Steamboat Rock State Park and hike up Steamboat Rock butte for an incredible sunrise picnic.
In winter, a brisk walk along a lush riverbank accompanied with the sound of rushing water can be the perfect pick-me-up. Get your nature fix this week at Moulton Falls, a picturesque hike along the Lewis River. On your way, enjoy a wide variety of northwest greenery, peek-a-boo views of the creek, even some historic relics.