2020 First Day Hikes: Eastern Washington

shoreline snowshoe

.The best of all wintry worlds — Lake Wenatchee is a spectacular setting for getting your hike on this January 1!

Dec. 9, 2019

The weather may get frightful, but it makes for Washington State Park’s First Day Hikes that are delightful!

Nowhere is that truer than in the stunning eastern half of Washington where mountains, forests, laFirst Day Hikes Pin 2020kes and rivers collide and transform into a wonderland in winter. That’s why so many of this year’s New Year’s day hikes offered at our east side parks are snow adventures. Enjoy hiking, biking, snowshoeing, skiing and more.

Washington’s New Year’s events are a part of the national First Day Hikes initiative, a program of America’s State Parks. On Jan. 1, people come together to enjoy a healthy New Year’s tradition and enjoy a great outdoor experience at parks in all 50 states.

For our 2020 New Year’s events, parks around the state are offering more hikes than ever before! So many, in fact, we’ve divided them into three blogs. Today, we are focusing on state parks in the eastern Region of Washington state. We will highlight participating parks in the southwest and northwest parts of the state Dec. 10 and 11, respectively. So stay tuned!

Remember: New Year’s Day is the first of our 2020 State Parks Free Days. That means you won’t need the Discover Pass to park. For hikes in Sno-Parks, you will need the proper winter recreation permit. Learn more here.

Now, find a First Day Hike event near you, and get ready for a healthy start to 2020!

Don't forget to pick up your collectible 2020 First Day Hikes pin!

ASOTIN COUNTY

Fields Spring Mt. View 12.2016 (002)

Fields Spring State Park has some spectacular views in winter!

Fields Spring State Park
Ring in the new year on snowshoes at the annual Fields Spring First Day Hike! If you get to the turning point and feel like you’re just getting warmed up, head to the top of the butte on a longer staff-guided hike. If not, loop back to Wohelo Lodge and warm up by the fire with snacks and hot drinks. Kids will receive free goody bags and can earn their Junior Ranger badges. As always, the tubing hill next to the lodge will be open for more fun in the snow.

Parking is available at the Fields Spring North parking lot near the campground. Please dress warmly for the winter weather and call the park office if you have any questions.

Name of hike:  Fields Spring First Day Hike
Name of trail:  Wohelo Lodge and Fields Spring trails
Time:  10 a.m.
Length of hike: 1.5 miles
Where to meet: Wohelo Lodge
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes

CHELAN COUNTY

11.20 Lake Wenatchee parting shot

Get peekaboo and panoramic views of Lake Wenatchee on a snowshoe hike.

Lake Chelan State Park
Take a turn along the interpretive Little Bear Loop Trail through ponderosa pine forest and learn about the park’s unique position on the convergence of four ecological zones ranging from mountains to desert plateau. Ask the ranger anything you want — he’s a pretty knowledgeable guy! Be prepared to spend some time in the snow, and bring a camera — you’re sure to find some beautiful views of crystal-clear Lake Chelan!

Name of hike:  Lake Chelan First Day Hike 2020
Name of trail:  Little Bear Loop Trail
Time:  10 a.m.
Length of hike: 2.5 miles
Where to meet: Trailer Loop comfort station
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  At his time of year, trail conditions typically consist of hard-pack snow with some ice. Traction cleats or snowshoes advised.
Contact/organizer: Brian Frahm, brian.frahm@parks.wa.gov 
Further information/event cancellation: (509) 687-3710

Lake Wenatchee State Park
Follow a park ranger and Audubon Society members along the Wenatchee River to North Beach for views across Lake Wenatchee. Following will be a trek through the pine and Douglas-fir forest back to the north reservation booth for hot cocoa and light snacks.

Along the way, hike leaders will point out various historical aspects of the park, highlight notable stories and discuss some fun facts. One particular stop at North Beach is a favorite, where participants may stop to take a snack break and gather for a fun group photo opportunity.

Name of hike:  First Day Guided Snowshoe Hike
Name of trail:  North Lake Loop Trail
Time:  11 a.m.
Length of hike: Up to 2.5 miles, with options to increase or decrease distance based on personal preference.
Where to meet: North park reservation booth
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Appropriate winter attire, snowshoes and trekking poles, if preferred. 
Contact/organizer: Paul Tomas, (509) 763-3101
Further information/event cancellation: (509) 763-3101. Call ahead to confirm this event is occurring as inclement weather can affect the hike. If you have a large group coming, please inform the park at least five business days ahead of time.

Squilchuck State Park
New this year! Enjoy a winter wonderland just up the hill from Wenatchee as a park ranger guides you through wandering trails and magical forested views! Learn a little bit about the history of the park and about some of the flora and fauna within.

Name of hike:  First Day Guided Snowshoe Hike
Name of trails: Vulture Loop and Tiger Lily trails
Time: 10 a.m.
Length of hike: 1.5 to 2 miles
Where to meet: Parking lot by the lower bulletin board
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: 5
Note: Vehicles suited for winter driving are recommended for access to Squilchuck in snowy conditions.
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Snowshoes, hiking poles, water, snacks and winter attire
Contact/organizer: Wenatchee Confluence State Park, (509) 664-6373
Further information/event cancellation: (509) 670-4587. Hike is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather. Call to confirm details and conditions up until the morning of the hike.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Lincoln Rock State Park
Join staff for a gentle hike highlighted by park history, area geology and the awesome power of the Rocky Reach Dam. Bring a camera to capture exhilarating views of the dam, its spillways and the juvenile fish bypass from the interpretive outlook on Rocky Reach Trail. Enjoy a warm drink and a hot dog barbecue at the group camp after the hike.

Name of hike:  First Day Hike
Name of trail:  Rocky Reach Trail
Time:  11 a.m.
Length of hike: 2 miles
Where to meet: Park day use area
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  Yes
Stroller accessible? Yes
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  It may be snowy and the trail may not be well maintained. Also, conditions may be cold and windy. Plan accordingly.
Contact/organizer: Ranger Dennis Lotts, dennis.lotts@parks.wa.gov,  
Further information/event cancellation: dennis.lotts@parks.wa.gov, (509) 884-8702 or check the park web page for alerts.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Columbia Plateau Trail State Park
New this year! Get out on the gravel with Ranger Nic Roberts! Bring your mountain bike and take a ride along the scenic Columbia Plateau Trail. The ride is very flat, but the trail is not paved. Parks staff will provide snacks and drinks at the Snake River junction of the trail — the half-way point.

Name of hike: First Day Bike 2020
Name of trail:  Columbia Plateau Trail
Time:  9 a.m.
Length of bike: 30 miles
Where to meet: North Shore Recreation Area and boat ramp by Ice Harbor Dam
Difficulty: Strenuous
Minimum age of participant: 16
Note: Participants should be capable of riding for a minimum of two hours
ADA accessible?   No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  No
What to bring:  Appropriate clothing for weather, water and a gravel or mountain bike recommended.
Contact/organizer: Ranger Nic Roberts, nicholas.roberts@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (509) 730-0229

GRANT COUNTY

Dry Falls Arctic Blast 12_16_2016

Intriguing in any season, Sun Lakes - Dry Falls is stunning when covered in ice and snow.

Sun Lakes – Dry Falls State Park
Kick off the new year with some intriguing geography and more! Start at the Dry Falls Visitor Center for an interpretive overview of the geology of Dry Falls, the Ice Age Flood National Geologic Trail, plus a tour of the visitor center. Then, go on a looping hike through the winter wonderland of desert sagebrush and rolling shrub-steppe. Refreshments and snacks will follow the hike. Bring a thermal travel mug for a special prize! The event is subject to change depending on weather, road and trail conditions.

Name of hike:  New Year’s Day — Tracks & Impressions — Dry Falls Hike
Name of trail:  Western rim of the Lower Grand Coulee
Time:  10:30 a.m.
Length of hike: 2.5 miles
Where to meet: Dry Falls Visitor Center
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
Note: Be prepared for winter weather conditions, including wind.
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Day pack with water and snacks, winter boots, hiking poles and proper clothing for weather conditions.
Contact/organizer: Parks Interpretive Specialist David McWalter, david.mcwalter@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (509) 632-5214

KITTITAS COUNTY

Lake Easton State Park
Learn a little about natural history, snowshoeing basics and safety during this brisk snowshoe hike. Enjoy views of the lake and watch for wildlife while trekking through the forest. Grab a snack and hot beverage after the hike.

Name of hike: Guided Snowshoe Hike
Time: 1 p.m.
Length of hike: 3 miles
Where to meet: Lake Easton State Park day-use area
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
Note: Snow park permit with groomed sticker required
ADA accessible? No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash? Yes
What to bring: Snowshoes, hiking poles, layered clothing, boots and water
Contact/organizer: Laura Busby, laura.busby@parks.wa.gov

OKANOGAN COUNTY

Pearrygin Lake snow 10-23-17

Go for an evening ride at Pearrygin Lake State Park!

Alta Lake State Park 
Enjoy a fascinating look into the geological history of this glacially carved valley on a brisk hike with a park ranger. Learn about the local flora and fauna and how the region recovered from wildfire. Stick around for coffee, cocoa and snacks following the hike.

Name of hike:  Alta Lake First Day Hike
Name of trail:  Goat Mountain Trail
Time:  1 p.m.
Length of hike: 2 miles
Where to meet: Contact station at the park entrance
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Appropriate dress for weather conditions, hiking boots, poles, snowshoes or traction cleats, according to preference
Contact/organizer: Ranger Andrew Cook, andrew.cook@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (509) 670-7110

Pearrygin Lake State Park
Begin the new year on an adventurous foot with a night fat bike ride or snowshoe! Join park rangers and community members at Pearrygin Lake State Park to explore the winter trails, gazing at the brilliant night sky, observing wildlife tracks and sharing food and stories around a campfire. All ages and abilities welcome.

Name of hike: First Night Fat Bike Ride/Snowshoe
Name of trail: West Campground Trail
Time: 6 p.m.
Length of hike: Up to you
Where to meet: West Campground trailhead
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Dress warmly and bring layers for the post ride/snowshoe activities. Since this is an evening event, head lamps or other light gear are highly recommended.
Contact/organizer: Ranger Alex Ott, alex.ott@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (509) 996-2370

SPOKANE COUNTY

20170213_132412

See the stunning Vista House on a First Day Hike at Mount Spokane State Park.

Mount Spokane State Park
Washington State Parks and The Friends of Mt. Spokane State Park are partnering to host this first day beginner snowshoe hike. The hike starts west along the Lower Kit Carson Loop Road to Smith Gap and the snowshoe hut, which was completed in 2014. Along the way, the route traverses through a beautiful old-growth cedar-hemlock forest and passes several stream crossings. A non-motorized Sno-park permit is required. The maximum group size is 30, and you must register for the event by Dec. 27.

Name of hike:  Smith Gap Snowshoe Hike
Name of trail:  Lower Mount Kit Carson Loop Road
Time:  9:30 a.m.
Length of hike: 2.5 miles round trip
Where to meet: Lower Kit Carson Loop Road parking lot at the first hairpin turn.
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash? No
What to bring:  Appropriate clothing, waterproof or water resistant boots and clothing, snowshoes, poles, sunglasses, sunscreen, water and snacks.
Contact/organizer: Holly Sproul, holly.sproul@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: Check the registration web link for information.

Mount Spokane State Park
For more experienced snowshoers, State Parks and The Friends of Mt. Spokane State Park are hosting this advanced First Day snowshoe hike. The hikes goes past the Bald Knob picnic shelter to the historic stone Vista House located at 5,883 feet – the highest point of Mount Spokane. If weather permits, you will have views of the Cabinet Mountains in Montana, Selkirk Crest in North Idaho and nearby lakes. A non-motorized Sno-Park permit is required. The maximum group size is 30, and you must register for the event by Dec. 27.

Name of hike:  Mount Spokane Summit Snowshoe Hike
Name of trail:  Trails 130 and 131 to Bald Nob picnic shelter, then traverse to summit
Time:  9:30 a.m.
Length of hike: 3.5 miles
Where to meet: Lower Selkirk parking lot, also known as the snowmobile parking lot
Difficulty: Strenuous
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  No
What to bring:  Waterproof or water-resistant boots, gators or waterproof pants, snowshoes, trekking poles, sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks and water.
Contact/organizer: Holly Sproul, holly.sproul@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: Check the registration web link for information.

Mount Spokane State Park
Washington State Parks and Spokane Nordic Ski Association (SNSA) are hosting this “First Day Ski” in the Nordic area of the park. Enjoy a beginner to moderate ski to the Nordic Hut where you can relax by the wood stove and enjoy a snack. You may also take a longer moderate loop option to ski out to Shadow Mountain before returning to the Selkirk Lodge. Smores will be provided by SNSA at the Selkirk Lodge. Non-motorized Sno-Park and Special Groomed Trail permits are required to park in the Selkirk Lodge parking lot. Permits can be purchased at the Mount Spokane State Park office or online. The maximum group size is 30, and you must register for the event by Dec. 27.

Name of hike:  Mount Spokane Cross Country Ski
Name of trail:  Nordic Area
Time: 1 p.m.
Length of hike: .5 miles shorter version to Nova Hut. Longer version to Shadow Mountain is an additional 2.5 miles
Where to meet: Selkirk Lodge parking lot
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  No
What to bring:  Cross-country ski equipment including boots, poles and skis, sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks and water. Cross-country ski rentals are available from Fitness Fanatics located at Mount Spokane State Park in the Selkirk Lodge parking area. You can reserve your skis in advance by calling Fitness Fanatics at 509-922-6080 or by completing a rental form online.
Contact/organizer: Holly Sproul, holly.sproul@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: Check the registration web link for information.


Trail 130 at Riverside snowshoe Lara Gricar

Find your flow in the snow with a First Day Hike at Riverside State Park.

Riverside State Park 
Washington State Parks, REI and the Riverside State Park Foundation are co-hosting this beginner and kid-friendly first day hike. Take a hike along the Little Spokane River and enjoy sites of waterfowl and potentially other wildlife such as deer, moose and turkeys. Enjoy a discussion about the park’s history, flora and fauna. The maximum group size is 30, and you must register by Dec. 27.

Name of hike:  Indian Painted Rocks
Name of trail:  Indian Painted Rocks Trail
Time:  1:30 p.m.
Length of hike: 3.3 miles
Where to meet: Painted Rocks Trailhead on W. Rutter Pkwy
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: None
Note: No dogs or bikes on trail.
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  No
What to bring:  Hiking boots or shoes with good traction, sunglasses, water and snacks. If there is snow, bring snow-appropriate gear such as snowshoes, traction cleats and/or trekking poles. Binoculars are encouraged for viewing wildlife, particularly birds.
Contact/organizer: Holly Sproul, holly.sproul@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: Check the registration web link for information.

Riverside State Park 
Washington State Parks and the Riverside State Park Foundation are hosting this moderate first day hike. Hike among towering ponderosa pines to the Pine Bluff overlook From here, you will be able to view some of the massive basalt rock formations located in the Deep Creek area. Learn about the park’s history, flora and fauna. Maximum group size is 30, and you must register by Dec. 27.

New this year! Does your dog have what it takes to be a BARK Ranger? Bring your pup along on this hikeBARK Ranger and find out! If park staff see you and your dog following the BARK Ranger rules, your pooch can be rewarded with a BARK Ranger dog tag — like the one pictured here. Your fur buddy can proudly display on their collar. Learn more about this fun, exciting new program!

Name of hike:  Pine Bluff Loop
Name of trail: Pine Bluff, Trail #25 
Time:  9:30 a.m.
Length of hike: 3 miles
Where to meet: Carlson Road Trailhead behind the park office in Nine Mile Falls
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Hiking boots or shoes with good traction, sunglasses, water and snacks. In case of snow, bring snow-appropriate gear such as snowshoes, traction cleats and trekking poles. Binoculars are encouraged for viewing wildlife, particularly birds
Contact/organizer: Holly Sproul, holly.sproul@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: Check the registration web link for information.

Riverside State Park 
Washington State Parks, REI and the Riverside State Park Foundation are co-hosting this moderate first day hike. Take a hike through the Knothead Valley and enjoy astonishing views from several overlooks. A portion of the hike follows along the Little Spokane River, where you’ll likely see waterfowl and potentially other wildlife such as deer, moose and turkeys. Enjoy learning about the park’s history, flora and fauna, too. Maximum group size is 30, and you must register by Dec. 27.

Name of hike:  Knothead Valley Loop Trail
Name of trail:  Knothead Valley and Painted Rocks
Time:  9:30 a.m.
Length of hike: 7 miles
Where to meet: Painted Rocks Trailhead on Rutter Pkwy
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
Note: No dogs or bikes on trail
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  No
What to bring:  Hiking boots or shoes with good traction, sunglasses, water and snacks. If there is snow, please bring snow appropriate gear such as snowshoes, traction cleats and trekking poles. Bring binoculars for viewing wildlife, particularly birds.
Contact/organizer: Holly Sproul, holly.sproul@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: Check the registration web link for information.

Learn More

Get a prescription for the great outdoors and make Washington State Parks a part of your new year’s fitness goals.
Resolving to get healthier in 2020? Learn more about our new partnership with the national Park Rx program and how you can get a prescription for nature!

Know before you go! 
Visit our great state parks partners such as the Washington Trails Association (WTA) and the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) to get trail updates and etiquette, safety tips and alerts and much more.  

Share your First Day Hikes experience and photos!
Tag us on social media with #FirstDayHikes and #WAStateParks. Or use our blog story share feature and upload your pics and tales from the trails!