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Choose from 25 'First Day Hikes' in State Parks

Posted by Loren Drummond at Dec 18, 2014 11:50 AM |

Start your year with a hike outside. Washington State Parks are hosting guided First Day Hikes in 25 parks around the state on Jan 1. Choose one close to you, and spend your New Year's Day playing outdoors.

Want to spend the first day of the new year outside? This year, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is making it easy. Twenty-five state parks are offering guided hikes that range from nature strolls along the coast to dog-friendly forest hikes to snowshoe adventures.

Participants of all ages are welcome, unless otherwise noted, and admission to state parks is free on January 1! Typically, the Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks. Check out the options below and get more information on these excellent, free events on the Washington State Parks events page.

Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island

Discover winter flora and fauna on Camano Island, and enjoy views of Saratoga Passage during a 1.5-mile hike. Meet at the welcome center near the park entrance at 1 p.m. A free shuttle is available to return hikers to the Cama Beach State Park welcome center after the event.

Camano Island State Park on Camano Island

Hike on West Rim and Cross Island trails at 1 p.m. for a three-mile loop from Camano Island State Park to Cama Beach State Park. Meet at the Lowell Point kitchen shelter.

Cape Disappointment State Park near Long Beach

Take a historical tour of North Head with views of the river, the ocean and coastal headlands. This one-mile hike begins at the Lighthouse Keepers Loop Trail at North Head at 2 p.m.

Deception Pass State Park in Oak Harbor

Participants have two hiking options at Deception Pass. Take the shorter, 1.5-mile round-trip hike from the trailhead to a nice meadow near Pass Lake. Or take the longer, 3-mile round-trip hike to Ginnett Hill. Both hikes start at Pass Lake parking area; meet there at 10 a.m.

Goose Rock. Photo by Bob and Barb.
Stellar views of Deception Pass are just one highlight of hiking to Goose Rock in Deception Pass State Park. Photo by Bob and Barb.

Fields Spring State Park in Anatone

Hope for clear skies and distant views as you snowshoe to Puffer Butte Warming Hut.  This hike will be approximately three miles round trip and does include some hill climbing. Snowshoes rental available. If there's little or no snow, you  will still hike. Meet at the day use office at noon.

Fort Casey State Park in Whidbey Island

Everyone is welcome on this ¾-mile walk. Learn about the fascinating history of the coast artillery post, which features two 10-inch and two 3-inch historic guns on display. Meet at 1:30 p.m. at the kiosk display board between the parking lot and Battery Worth. Hoping for a longer hike? Meet at the museum at 1 p.m.

Fort Flagler State Park on Marrowstone Island

Hike a full two miles along Bluff Trail, or enjoy a shorter, ¾-mile walk that includes views of North Puget Sound and historic military structures. Meet at 1 p.m. in front of the park museum. On-leash pets are welcome. The park museum is open on New Year’s Day.

Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend

Take a stroll up Artillery Hill and walk through multiple coastal defense bunkers for a 1.5-mile hike. Meet at 12:30 p.m. at the “Memories Vault. Those unfamiliar with the park may wish to arrive 30 minutes early and ask for directions at the Coastal Artillery Museum, located next door to the park office. Children ages 12 years and older are welcome. Those who want to explore the bunkers are advised to take along a flashlight.

Point Wilson
Explore Fort Worden State Park, the lesser known of the parks near Port Townsend. Photo by Chris.

Griffiths-Priday State Park in Ocean Shores

Take a 4-mile round-trip hike on the Ocean Beach Trail and learn about the plants, animals and geology found in the area. Located on the southern edge of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and the Copalis National Marine Wildlife Refuge, the park offers visitors access to protected habitats sandwiched between the Copalis River and edge of the Pacific Ocean. The hike begins at 10 a.m. at the picnic shelter. No pets please.

Jarrell Cove State Park in Shelton

Discover a trail of two plant communities, a 2-mile exploration of an upland forested trail. Walk through mature stands of coniferous trees then wind through a forest of deciduous and less mature trees where a very different host of plant  live. Bring your plant and fungi identification book and meet in the mair parking lot at 11:00 a.m. On-leash pets are welcome.

Lake Sylvia State Park in Montesano

Hike along Sylvia Creek/Forestry Trail while learning about area logging history, wildlife and plant life. Meet at 12:45 p.m., at the day-use kitchen shelter. On-leash pets are welcome.

Lake Wenatchee State Park near Leavenworth

Note that this event requires a Sno-Park permit, as the outing takes place in a designated Sno-Park.

Snowshoe on North Lake Loop for a one-mile excursion of moderate difficulty. Meet at 10 a.m. at the North Park Sno-Park. A Seasonal Sno-Park Permit and a Special Groomed Trail Permit – or a One-Day Sno-Park Permit and Discover Pass – are required for vehicle access to this event. Sno-Park permits are available for purchase online at Participants must be 10 years of age or older to participate. Please leave pets at home. Snowshoes are required.

Larrabee State Park in Bellingham

Check out WTA's handiwork on the park's newest trail—the Rock Trail. Discover gorgeous views and fascinating geological rock formations on the 4-mile round-trip hike. The trail includes more than 160 stairs, so be prepared for some climbing! Meet at the Lost Lake parking lot at 10:00 a.m.

Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan Island

Even when it is not whale-watching season, Lime Kiln  still offers a dramatic view of the rocky shore, Haro Strait and Vancouver Island. Bring the whole family for a 2.5-mile hike along this trail. Come out at 1 p.m. to the Interpretive Center.

Millersylvania State Park in Olympia

Walk or run 3.8 miles of fitness trails through Pacific Northwest old-growth forest. Meet at 9 a.m. at Kitchen Shelter 1. Participants are asked to leave pets at home for this one.

Mount Spokane State Park in Mead

Note that this event requires a Sno-Park permit, as the outing takes place in a designated Sno-Park.

Snowshoe along Trail 130 for a 2- to 4-mile, round-trip hike. Meet at 10 a.m. at the snowmobile parking lot. A Seasonal Sno-Park Permit and a Special Groomed Trail Permit or a One-Day Sno-Park Permit and a Discover Pass are required for vehicle access to the event. (Purchase Sno-Park permits online at Snowshoes are required, and pets are allowed, as long as they are on leash.

Mount Spokane State Park
Mount Spokane is one of the premiere winter recreation areas in Northeast Washington. Photo by Weluv2hike.

Nolte State Park in Enumclaw

Explore the forested 1.25-mile-loop around Deep Lake at this 10 a.m. hike through the Green River Gorge. Meet at the state park parking lot. On-leash pets are welcome.

Riverside State Park in Spokane

Take the swing bridge over the Spokane River for a hike on the Bowl and Pitcher River Trail. Participants will see the unique basalt rock formations cut by the Spokane River known as the Bowl and Pitcher. Meet in the Bowl and Pitcher Swinging Bridge parking lot at 1 p.m. Participants should be prepared for any weather conditions; snowshoes may be required. Pets on leash are allowed.

Rockport State Park on Hwy 20

Hike the 3-mile Evergreen Loop Trail and find yourself in an ancient, 400-year-old-growth forest amongst towering Douglas-firs and red cedars. This hike is recommended for people age 10 and older. Start time is 10 a.m. at the Picnic Shelter across from the restroom.

Saltwater State Park in Des Moines

Explore the legacy and influence of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)—a service program started during the Great Depression. The CCC built much of the park. Plus, learn the role Saltwater State Park played in forging a friendship between the rival cities of Seattle and Tacoma.  Meet at the Interpretive Center at 9 a.m. Pets welcome on leash.

South Whidbey State Park on Whidbey Island

How can you not love Whidbey Island?  Take a 0.9-mile walk with an interpretive guide on the Wilbert Trail, named after the couple who were instrumental in saving the area from logging in the 1970s. Children age 5 and older are welcome. Coffee, hot cider and cookies will be available before and after the hikes. Meet at 10:00 a.m. in front of the Ranger House. Pets welcome on leash.

Twanoh State Park on Hood Canal

See the interior of a Puget Sound coastal forest on a 2.25-mile hike. Meet at 10:00 a.m. at the park office in the lower parking area. The trail may be muddy;  weather-proof shoes are recommended.

Wallace Falls State Park in Gold Bar

Hike on Woody Trail to Middle Falls for a 2.3-mile journey to multiple waterfall viewpoints. Meet at 11 a.m. at the Wallace Falls Trailhead. Pets on leash are welcome.

Wallace Falls
Middle Falls. Photo by mtnlou.