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How WTA’s Hike Suggestions Work

It can be overwhelming to choose from the thousands of trail options in Washington. That's why we created a new tool in your My Backpack account to help you discover hikes personalized to you, both in areas you’re familiar with and across the state.

Since our founding in 1966, we have aimed to help hikers connect to and steward the thousands of amazing trail experiences across our state. We created this tool in a way to help you discover hikes personalized to you, both in areas you’re familiar with and across the state.

The basics

Hike your own hike. Everyone experiences trails differently, and one person’s grind may be someone else’s walk in the park. Lots of hikers enjoy waterfalls; others prefer shrub steppe rambles or alpine ridgelines. 

When a member of our community asks WTA staff to recommend a hike for them, we usually ask a few questions to ensure our suggestions are the right fit. In lieu of quizzing you, this tool uses your trip reports and the hiking lists saved in your My Backpack to try and achieve something similar, so you always have new ideas for your next step in your hiking journey.

We base the likelihood that one of the hikes we suggest will appeal to you on a number of things, including: 

  • Your interactions with your My Hikes list (such as saving new hikes or filing a trip report).
  • Information about hikes themselves, including their location, features and elevation gain
  • Our own knowledge of the trail system, including when the trail is typically snow-free and whether it is wheelchair friendly (if that's something we think you might want suggested to you)

We use all of these pieces of data and some pretty fancy math to narrow down the hundreds of hikes to a more manageable few we think you might like. 

Our recommendations system does not use or look at any demographic information (such as zip code, age or gender) to make recommendations. 

If you’re not seeing something you’re interested in, you can always use our existing search tools to explore all the hikes in our Hiking Guide, including the Hike Finder map and trip reports. 

How it works: the details

Here are a few more details about how to use our suggestion system. 

    • Step 1: If you haven’t already, log in or create an account on WTA.
    • Step 2: Visit the My Hikes section (from your My Backpack Dashboard) — a few hike suggestions will be at the top.
    • Step 3: Check them out and save the ones that look interesting to your account. 
  • Don’t see anything that seems like a good fit? Let us know so we can improve the suggestions.
  • Don’t have any suggestions? Save a few trails and we’ll have enough information to begin suggesting ideas of hikes you might like. 

A note: If your My Hikes list is set to public, your recommendations will still be private to you.

Check conditions before you head out

The personalized ideas in your My Backpack are just suggestions. You still gotta do your research on those trails before you head out. 

Conditions and trails can change fast. Just like when we make recommendations to check out a new trail in an article or when you chat with us on social media, we expect that you will do a bit of research before heading out to be sure the trail is a good fit for you, that the trail is open and that it is the right pick for this exact moment in the season. 

Ask questions, share feedback

Have a question or thought about this feature of My Backpack? We'd love to hear it. Are you interested in supporting our website or future iterations of this tool with a donation? That's always welcome, too.