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Advancing Trail Smarts

Supporting trails is not just about the much-needed trail maintenance and additional investment. It’s also about hiker awareness, transportation access, trip-reported conditions and so much more. We need targeted education to improve on-trail experiences and help hikers discover brand-new adventures.

Supporting trails isn't just about doing trail maintenance and increased funding. It’s also about hiker awareness.  Transportation, road access, trip-reported conditions and so much more all help make a healthy trail system.

All of this requires targeted education to improve your on-trail experiences and help you lessen your impact on the places you love. If you haven’t seen our Trail Smarts video series, now's a great time to check it out. These tools provide quick refreshers on some of the most important hiking best practices.

Fun fact: Trip reports aren't just good for planning your next hike. They are critical to land managers as they make decisions and plan for the future needs of hikers. Write one today!


8 Tech Tools That Make Hiking Better

When I decide to add a piece of outdoor technology to my planning or hiking gear list, it has to do one of three things: help me get outside, help me unplug or help me deepen my connection to wild places. Ideally, it does all three.

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Making Strides in Trail Stewardship

Aug 23, 2022

As hiking rises in popularity, we’re constantly looking for innovative solutions to support a growing number of hikers on trail.

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8 Stretches for After Your Next Hike

Taking 5 to 10 minutes at the trailhead to stretch a little bit will promote blood flow back into your muscles and reduces your heart rate back to normal. This can help you feel a bit more limber after a few hours of sitting in a vehicle post-hike. Plus, stretching before AND after your hike can increase your flexibility and range of motion and can even protect you from injury.

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9 Tips for Being Everyone’s Favorite Hiking Buddy

Jun 27, 2022

The next time you head out with a new hiking companion, whether it’s a brand-new friend or someone you’ve known for decades, we have some tips for how to have a great time — and ensure you’re always on the invite list for future hikes.

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How to Use Journaling to Connect with Nature — and Yourself

These 10 tips will help you start your own journaling habit while out on trail.

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Moving Mindfully: How to Care for Your Body While Caring for Trails

Before you head out on your next work party, here are some key areas you can focus on to help minimize the risk of an overuse injury. By Holly Weiler

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Nice People, Nice Hikes

As long as we’re all moving around each other on trail, why not make it a pleasant experience for everyone?

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How to Choose Footwear for Hiking

We look to shoes or boots to protect our feet. And if we don’t choose wisely, what should be a fun time can be halted by sore — or even injured — feet.

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How to Choose Your Traction

There are tons of different traction aids out there, and depending on the conditions you’ll be hiking in, some will be more helpful than others.

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How to Recycle Your Hiking Gear

Being thoughtful about the gear we buy and use — and what we do with it when gear reaches the end of its life — is another small way to leave a lighter footprint on the broader world, too.

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How to Think Ahead for Safer Hiking

Hiking comes with inherent risk, but by preparing ahead of time and thinking through those risks, you can future-proof your hikes and be ready for (nearly) anything.

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Search and Rescue’s Tips for Wet-Season Hiking

Dec 14, 2021

Here are a few scenarios you might encounter while hiking in the wet months — and how to avoid having to make that 911 call for search and rescue.

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Sun Protection While Hiking: Sunscreen, UV Protective Clothing & More

Get some tips for staying safe in the sun and make a more informed decision before setting out on your next hike.

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How to Swim Safely in Cold Water Lakes

Washington state is full of beautiful mountain lakes — and many of them are very cold. Here's what you need to know to swim safely — and protect the fragile lake environment.

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Trip Reports: Hikers Helping Hikers

Jun 10, 2021

Trip reports make WTA a uniquely helpful resource for hikers in Washington. Here are a few trip reports where hikers helped out a little extra.

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