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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!


Tips for Staying Hydrated While Hiking in the Winter

In the summer, it’s easier to remember to drink. After all, it’s hot out, the sun is beating down on you, and the trail is dusty. Mentally, we think about drinking more often. In the winter, our brains don’t have to combat the heat, so remembering to drink is important.

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What to Wear on a Winter Hike

Tips for dialing in your layering system and staying warm during your cold weather outdoor adventures.

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How to Find the Right Rain Gear for Year Round Hiking

If you hike in the Pacific Northwest, you’re eventually going to be hiking in the rain. If you’re lucky, it’s just a few drops or a short shower; sometimes, it’s a torrential downpour that lasts for hours or even days. At these times, rain gear of some kind is essential for safety and comfort. It will get you through the rough spots, keeping you dry and warm enough to help avoid hypothermia. But there are so many options for rain gear. How do you choose the best for any particular situation?

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Hiker Headlines: Snow in the Mountains, Photo Contest, Winter Camping, Hunting Season

Oct 15, 2020

Snow is falling, temperatures are dropping, and the days are getting shorter — the late fall hiking season is here. Submit your photos to our annual photo contest. Sno Park permits will go on sale November 1 and Washington State Parks just released the list of campgrounds that will remain open through the winter. Fall is also peak hunting season.

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Outdoor Ed: Head Outside for Fun and Learning

Oct 07, 2020

What a year. We're planted in front of glowing screens more than ever before, and parents have it especially rough, what with juggling jobs, childcare and trying to manage schooling at home. If you find yourself called upon to be a teacher as well as a parent these days, let WTA help you out.

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Hiker Headlines: More Camping, Snow Falling, Plan a Park, Waterfall Reservations

Oct 01, 2020

It's October! State parks are extending the reservation and camping season at some parks. Snow is starting to fall in the mountains. elp plan the Miller Peninsula State Park near Sequim. And if you want to visit Multnomah Falls, you'll want to plan ahead. Here's some news you might have missed while out on trail this week.

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How to Stay Cozy When You Camp in Your Car

Camping in your car doesn’t have to be in a developed campsite. With a bit of preparation, you can turn you car into a cozy sleeping spot anywhere dispersed camping is allowed.

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Hiker Headlines: Wildfires, Burn Bans, Giving Back to Public Lands

Sep 10, 2020

It's Sept. 10. Many outdoor areas are closed due to fires and smoke. We were overjoyed and so grateful for the success of this year's Hike-a-Thon. And there are more chances to give back to trails coming up. Here's some news you might have missed while out on trail this week.

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Hiker Headlines: Refuge Outdoor Festival and Film Release, Mount Rainier Survey

Sep 17, 2020

It's Sept. 17. Many outdoor areas continue to be closed due to fires and smoke. Find your joy at (online) Refuge Outdoor Festival or with a film release about Washington's Dark Divide area. Also: the future of Paradise is in your hands.

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Hiker Headlines: Photo Contest, Leading by Example, Hike-a-Thon

Aug 27, 2020

It's Aug. 27. Our annual Northwest Exposure Photo Contest is now open. We're excited to see how many hikers are leading by example on trail. And our Hike-a-Thon has less than a week to go — there's still time to support WTA and help participants meet their goals.

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Q&A: Camping Responsibly Outside Campgrounds During a Pandemic

Aug 21, 2020

How to find a great campsite for some physically distanced camping — while staying safe and protecting the landscape.

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Hiker Headlines: Hiking Helps the Economy, Fire Safety, Hunting Season, Meteors

Aug 13, 2020

It's Aug. 13. A new report show how much outdoor recreation boosts the state's economy. We have a few safety reminders for you this week about fire season and hunting season. It's a great week to go look for shooting stars. And a few Seattle parks need new names and you can help. Here's some news you might have missed while out on trail this week.

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Masks, Trash & Parking: 3 Easy Ways to Lead by Example on Every Hike

Aug 22, 2020

Every time you lace up your hiking shoes and head out on trail, it's an opportunity to help keep the outdoors a refuge during tough times. Here are some easy ways to lead by example, keep it positive and create the outdoor community of your dreams.

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Hiker Headlines: Input For Trails, Fire Season, GAOA Signed Into Law

Aug 05, 2020

It’s August 6. With the celebration of Washington Trails Day and the Great American Outdoors Act being signed into law, trails have been in the spotlight this week. Land managers across the state are looking for community input on a variety of proposed projects. And it’s the season of fires and road construction, so check conditions and plan ahead to avoid inconvenient delays.

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Inspiration and Advice for Getting Out on Trail with Kids

Jul 31, 2020

Time on trail with kids can create magical memories that last a lifetime. Here are some tips from members of our community on how to get out with your own kids.

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