Start the new year off right with a First Day Hike - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Start the new year off right with a First Day Hike

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OLYMPIA, WA – Washington State Parks invites the public to start the new year off with a First Day Hike on Monday, January 1st, at more than three dozen state parks across Washington.

“First Day Hikes are a fitting way to cap off the holidays and discover the off-season appeal of Washington’s state parks,” said Don Hoch, Washington State Parks director. “This year parks are offering something for every fitness level and interest, including guided hikes with rangers, snowshoe treks and fat bike rides.”

First Day Hikes will take place in a diverse and dramatic range of landscapes and historic features, including coastal beaches, islands, waterfalls, lowland forests, lighthouses, geological points of interest and more.

Washington was among the first states in the nation to participate in First Day Hikes, a nationwide initiative organized by the National Association of State Parks Directors. Currently, all 50 state park systems participate in the effort. More information about the program and hikes being offered all over the country is here:

January 1st also is the first of 12 Washington State Parks “free days” taking place in 2018. Park visitors will not need to display the Discover Pass on vehicles to access state parks for the New Year’s Day activities or for other state park visits on that day. 

Most participating parks will offer refreshments following the outings, thanks to funding from the Seattle RV and Puyallup RV shows and the Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU).

More details about First Day Hikes are on Washington State Parks’ official blog, Adventure Awaits, at:

First Day Hikes at Washington state parks are scheduled as follows and are listed by county. Participants should plan for winter weather and dress appropriately, including sturdy footwear. Snacks and water are also recommended.  

Adams County

Columbia Plateau Trail State Park: Take an easy 3- to 4-mile round-trip walk along an old railroad bed. Enjoy views of the Snake River while learning about the flora, fauna and geology of the area. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Ice Harbor Dam Trailhead outside of Pasco. (Park map:

Chelan County

Lake Chelan State Park: Take a leisurely hike and learn about forest wildfire behavior, local wildlife and local park lore from a veteran park ranger. Meet at 10 a.m. at the park office. (Map:

Lake Wenatchee State Park: Take a guided snowshoe hike along the Wenatchee River and through the park’s forests, and take in the view across Lake Wenatchee. Snowshoes are available for rent in limited youth and adult sizes; contact the park in advance if interested: (509) 763-3101. Meet at 11 a.m. at the north park reservation booth.  (Park map:

Columbia County

Palouse Falls State Park:  Enjoy spectacular views of the official state waterfall and learn about area flora, fauna, and geology on this ranger-led hike. Meet at 10 a.m. in the lower parking lot at the overlook. (Directions to park:

Douglas County

Bridgeport State Park: Explore the flora, fauna and geology of this section of the Columbia River on this ranger-led 1/4-mile walk. Learn about the powerful natural forces that shaped the area. Meet at 9 a.m. at the park’s group camp parking area. (Park map:

Lincoln Rock State Park: Take a 2-mile hike along the Rocky Reach Trail and learn about the area geology and the history of the Rocky Reach Dam. Meet at 11 a.m. at the park’s day use area by the monument. (Park map:  

Grant County

Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park: The day will start off with a tour of the Dry Falls Visitor Center and an overview of the geology of the falls and the Ice Age Flood National Geologic Trail. Then, drive down to Sun Lakes for a 2-mile loop hike through desert sage brush and shrub-steppe habitat. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Dry Falls Visitor Center. (Park directions:

Kittitas County

Lake Easton State Park: Bring your snowshoes for a 2-1/2-mile guided hike through the snow and learn about the winter wildlife of the area. Meet at 1 p.m. at the Lake Easton Sno-Park. A Sno-Park permit is required.

Olmstead Place Historical State Park: Grab your four-legged family member for this easy, dog-friendly, 1-mile group dog walk on the Altapes Creek Trail. Dogs must be well-behaved, socialized and on leash. Meet at 9 a.m. at the park’s north end parking lot. (Park map: