Hiking in the Time of Coronavirus
While we know there is immense value in getting outdoors, we also want you and everyone around you to stay healthy. Stay local. And while you're resetting outside, be sure to give each other at least 6 feet of space.
July 1, 2021: While Washington has reopened fully, COVID-19 is still a concern for various communities. As a result, some park or trail facilities remain closed, and some locations are still closed completely to visitors. Please respect these closures.
WTA continues to recommend the seven tips to Recreate Responsibly. And of course, if you're sick, please stay home and take care of yourself. We hope you recover quickly.
- Know Before You Go
Use WTA's Hiking Guide and the sidebar here to plan. If it's closed, don't go.
- Plan Ahead
Choose a few alternate locations in case your first choice is crowded. If your alternates are also packed, use the "hikes near me" function on WTA's Trailblazer app to find another trailhead nearby. Notify whoever you left your hiking itinerary with of the change.
Pack a lunch and any extra treats you will want on the way there and back. Bring hand sanitizer and a face covering, and wear the covering in crowded areas like viewpoints or if you go indoors.
Restrooms might be closed. Go before you leave home, and bring supplies to manage things if nature calls while you're out there. If necessary, brush up on how to poop in the woods. If you wipe after a pee, go a more sustainable route: get a Kula cloth or use a bandanna.
- Practice Physical Distancing
When you see approaching hikers, look for a spot where you can get off trail and maintain 6 or more feet of distance. As long as you're briefly passing one another, risk of transmission is low, and even lower with your mouth and nose covered.
Let them know If you're coming up behind someone, a polite, "On your right (or left)!" will do. If you're coming towards each other, make eye contact. Trail etiquette states the person going uphill has right of way, but not everyone knows this. If there's confusion, talk it out.
Give each other space Try to step aside in a place where you can get well out of the way of each other without trampling trailside plants. Cover your mouth while you're passing. A wave or a "thank you" is a nice way to acknowledge each other.
- Play it Safe
Search and rescue operations are stretched thin. We don't want to put any extra pressure on them, so choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury.
- Recreate Close To Home
In stressful times, being able to access nature is important. Use our Hike Finder Map to find the greenspaces near you.
- Build an inclusive outdoors
Be active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities. Trails are for everyone.