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Outdoor Holidays: What You Need To Know

An explanation of the various hiking holidays that encourage you to get outside and steward our public lands.

Many holidays celebrate trails, public lands and getting outside. Keeping all those holidays straight can get confusing. Here’s a breakdown of the various days we celebrate throughout the year. Find a day that works for you, or make plans to celebrate them all!

 
Hikers sign a postcards to legislators on Washington Trails Day. Photo by Jim Claggett.

National Trails Day

When: first Saturday in June*
Purpose: National Trails Day kicks off peak hiking season. Started by the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day is a day of public events aimed at advocacy and trail service. Thousands of outdoors lovers, including hikers, bikers and horseback riders partner with land agencies and businesses to advocate for, maintain, and clean up public lands and trails. Check out how WTA celebrated with trail work in 2019.

National Get Outdoors Day

When: second Saturday in June*
Purpose: On this national, kid-focused day, federal land agencies, nonprofits and the recreation industry team up to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun. In addition to connecting youth to the great outdoors, a primary goal of the day is to encourage people — particularly communities who have been historically under-represented as visitors to public lands — to visit public lands for the first time. 

Washington Trails Day 

When: first Saturday in August
Purpose: Washington Trails Day is a day for hikers to take action and get outdoors. WTA led the effort to get the day officially recognized by the governor seven years ago, and he has signed a proclamation each year since. Washington's trails face challenges but it’s our belief that people who love to hike are the solution and that, together, we can create trails that will last forever. Here's how we celebrated Washington Trails Day in 2019.

Public Lands Day

When: fourth Saturday in September*
Purpose: The goal of Washington's Public Lands Day (and National Public Lands Day on the larger scale) is stewardship of our public lands. Public Lands Day is specific to Washington, a day to celebrate all of the public lands in our state. And, as of 2019 — with special thanks to the WTA advocate community — the day is now officially recognized by Washington state law. Public Lands Day recognizes the positive impacts public lands have on people's physical and mental well being, celebrates how important public lands are to Washington's state and local economies, and provides an opportunity to educate outdoor recreationist about important topics like Leave No Trace and the history of Washington’s lands. WTA celebrates with trail work parties with partners across the state.

National Public Lands Day

When: fourth Saturday in September*
Purpose: National Public Lands Day has the same goal as the Washington specific holiday, but on a national scale. If you're outside Washington and want to get involved, look for National Public Lands Day events. 

* These days are also fee-free days on some public lands. Check our list of fee-free days throughout the year for details.