2020 First Day Hikes: Northwest Washington and Puget Sound

Saltwater Paddle 2 (Ranger Yorkston far right)

Does a First Day Paddle float your boat? Go for it this Jan. 1, at Saltwater State Park!

Dec. 11, 2019

Northwest Washington and Puget Sound are renowned as home to some of the most wide-ranging and dramatic landscapes. That’s why it’s no surprise you’ll find a spectrum of fun and intriguing events awaiting you at this year’s First Day Hikes.First Day Hikes Pin 2020

In addition to spectacular hiking through forests and waterfalls, you’ll find a First Day paddle trip, interpretive history ventures, island exploration and more. This year, we’re offering more hikes than ever. Indulge in an old favorite, or try something new!

Washington’s New Year’s Day events are a part of the national First Day Hikes, 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.

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.

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!

Cama Beach 2018

Bundle up and hit the trail this New Year's Day at Cama Beach Historical State Park.

CLALLAM COUNTY

Hoko River State Park Property
Take a stroll through the rainforest climes of the northern Olympic Peninsula at Hoko River State Park. Friends of Hoko River State Park volunteers will guide you on a level walk along the Little Hoko River.

Name of hike: First Day Hike
Name of trail: Little Hoko River Trail
Time: Noon
Length of hike: 1 mile
Where to meet: Hoko Ozette Road, Little Hoko River Gate south of entrance to Cowan Heritage Area.
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible? No
Stroller accessible? Yes
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Sturdy walking shoes
Contact/organizer: Dr. Nancy Mesmer, able@olypen.com 
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 963-2442

ISLAND COUNTY

Cama Beach Historical State Park 
Friends of Camano Island Parks volunteers will lead an easy hike to Cranberry Lake. See if you can spot the work of busy beavers!

Name of hike:  Cama Beach First Day Hike
Name of trail: Cranberry Lake
Time: 11 a.m.
Length of hike: 1 hour
Where to meet: Drop-off shelter
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? Yes
Dogs allowed on leash? Yes
What to bring:  Wet weather gear
Contact/organizer: (360) 387-1550
Further information/event cancellation: Call (360) 387-1550 up until Dec. 31. Phone will not be monitored Jan. 1.

Deception Pass State Park 
Starting at the West Beach Shelter, Park staff will guide you along the Sand Dunes Interpretive Trail loop. This is a paved ADA and stroller-accessible trail with minor bumps along the way. On this hike, we will find great views of the Salish Sea, travel around dune forests, wetlands, sandy beaches and visit one of the oldest trees in the park. Looking for a more challenging hike? Also starting at the West Beach Shelter will be a simultaneous opportunity to explore the park along the North Beach Trail. This is a more uphill hike with views of the iconic bridge and pass. The North Beach Trail is wide and well maintained and gains about 100 feet of elevation. Children are welcome on either of these trails.

Name of hike: First Day Hike
Name of trail: Interpretive Sand Dunes and North Beach trails
Time: 10 a.m.
Length of hike: Sand Dune — 0.5 miles; North Beach — 2 miles
Where to meet: West Beach shelter
Difficulty: Easy (Sand Dune); Moderate (North Beach)
Minimum age of participant: none
ADA accessible? Yes
Stroller accessible? Yes
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring: Dress appropriately for the weather and wear sturdy shoes for hiking|
Contact/organizer: Kelsey Maloy, kelsey.maloy@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 675-3767 ext. 231,

Fort Casey Historical State Park 
NEW THIS YEAR! Ring in the New Year with this hike led by Isaac, a well-versed volunteer, who will guide you through the history of Fort Casey along the park’s interpretive trail. This trail is a flat, graveled and ADA accessible. Bonus: You’ll explore portions of the fort that are usually closed! Join us for refreshments after. Stick around and join Isaac for the next hike…

Name of hike:  Interpreting Fort Casey  
Name of trail:  Battery Loop Interpretive Trail
Time:  1 p.m.
Length of hike: 1 mile
Where to meet: Fort parking lot
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: Children should be of walking age or in a stroller or carrier backpack
ADA accessible?  Yes
Stroller accessible? Yes
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Water bottle, flashlight, walking shoes, weather-appropriate clothing
Contact/organizer: Chris Holm, chris.holm@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 678-4519

Fort Casey Historical State Park
NEW THIS YEAR! Start the New Year by exploring Fort Casey with this hike led by Isaac, a well-versed volunteer, who will guide you in exploring historic the masterpieces of Fort Casey. This hike will traverse up, down and all throughout the fort and its many rooms. Join us for refreshments after.

Name of hike:  Exploring Fort Casey
Name of trail:  Battery Loop Interpretive Trail
Time:  3:30 p.m.
Length of hike: 1 mile
Where to meet: Fort parking lot
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: 8 years old. Kids must be accompanied by an adult
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash? No
What to bring:  Water bottle, flashlight, walking shoes, weather-appropriate clothing
Contact/organizer: Chris Holm, chris.holm@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 678-4519

Fort Flagler 2019 FDH_8081

Take a trek through Washington's military history this New Year's Day at Fort Flagler Historical State Park.

JEFFERSON COUNTY

Fort Flagler Historical State Park 
NEW THIS YEAR! Take a walk through military history of the fort’s buildings and gun batteries. Come early! Volunteer Ron Raplee will open the newly refurbished Military History Museum at 10:30 a.m. and will then lead the tour of the fort.

Name of hike:  Historic Fort Flagler Tour              
Name of trail:  Gun Battery
Time:  11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Length of hike: 2.5 miles
Where to meet: Fort Flagler History Museum
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
Note: Young children should be watched closely by parents. Hike involves climbing narrow stairways with no handrails.
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  No
What to bring:  Warm clothing, sturdy footwear, flashlight or headlamp
Contact/organizer: Fort Flagler ranger staff
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 385-1259

Fort Worden Historical State Park 
NEW THIS YEAR! Hike back into Fort Worden’s history with one of our park rangers. Learn more about Fort Worden’s military history and operations from the late 1890s through the early 20th century.

Name of hike: Back to the Past Hike
Name of trail: Fort Worden’s Artillery Gun Line
Time: 1 p.m.
Length of hike: 2 miles
Where to meet: USO Building parking lot (west side of Taps at the Guardhouse pub)
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
Note: Some of the trail is unpaved and may have tree roots  
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  NO
What to bring:  Dress appropriately for the weather. Sturdy shoes or hiking boots advised.|
Contact/organizer: Ranger John Whittet, john.whittet@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 344-4412

Fort Worden Historical State Park
Take a self-guided hike and meander at your own pace through a forest canopy winding past several historic mortar batteries and main gun line. Stop at Memory’s Vault — a sculpture garden with columns of poetry. See mountain views (if the weather cooperates.) Docents will be available along the trail to provide more information and answer questions. Rest benches and restroom facilities are available along the way.

Name of hike: The Best of Fort Worden
Name of trail: Fort Worden’s Artillery Hill
Time: 1 p.m.
Length of hike: 2.5 miles
Where to meet: USO Building parking lot (west side of Taps at the Guardhouse pub)
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: none
Note: Short sections of Battery Way Loop are steep, but the entire trail is paved.  
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? Yes
Dogs allowed on leash? Yes
What to bring:  Dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable footwear.  Please remember to pick up after your pets.
Contact/organizer: Ranger John Whittet, john.whittet@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 344-4412

Fort Worden Historical State Park
NEW THIS YEAR! Learn more about the natural history of Fort Worden with a park ranger while enjoying beautiful vistas from Fort Worden’s Artillery Hill.

Name of hike: Back to Nature Hike
Name of trail:  JFK Trail and Artillery Hill
Time: 1 p.m.
Length of hike: 2.5 miles
Where to meet: USO Building parking lot (west side of Taps at the Guardhouse pub)
Difficulty: Moderate
Note: Parts of the trail are steep, and some tree roots exist in the trail.  
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash? No
What to bring: Dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable footwear.
Contact/organizer: Ranger John Whittet, john.whittet@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 344-4412

KING COUNTY

Bridle Trails State Park 
New this year! Our friends from the Bridle Trails Park Foundation and the Lake Washington Saddle Club invite horses and hikers celebrate the first day of 2020 at Bridle Trails State Park. Ranger Daryl Kline will greet participants before the outings. The club will provide pre-adventure treats — including carrots for horses and cocoa for humans! If you plan to go, please register with the Foundation.
Name of hike: First Day Hike and Trail Ride
Trail name(s): Coyote and Trillium trails
Time: 1 to 3 p.m.
Length of hike: 3 miles (hike) and 3.5 miles (trail ride)
Where to meet: Pedestrians meet at the picnic area; equestrians meet at the big ring
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant:n/a
ADA accessible? No
Stroller accessible? Yes, but over rough ground
Dogs allowed on leash? Yes
What to bring? Dress for the weather.
Contact/organizer: Bridle Trails Park Foundation and Lake Washington Saddle Club
Further information/event cancellation: Bridle Trails Park Foundation, (425) 307-3578 

Saltwater State Park (Update 12/30/19)
*** CANCELLED *** The Friends of Saltwater State Park will lead this hike through the woods surrounding McSorley Creek.  After the hike, stick around for warm drinks and snacks and an opportunity to explore the seashore.

Our apologies! This hike is cancelled because the park has been closed due to ongoing issues with the adjacent sewer district's significant overflow into McSorley Creek and Saltwater State Park. Water samples collected and tested by the Seattle and King County Public Health Office show the levels of fecal contamination are falling but are still too high for public safety. 

Name of hike: Friends of Saltwater First Day Hike
Name of trail: McSorley Creek
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Length of hike: 1.5 to 2 miles
Where to meet: Lower parking lot near the snack shack building
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Minimum age of participant: None. Must be able to walk (or be carried) 2 miles
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring: Hiking boots, warm clothes, rain jacket and a smile.
Contact/organizer: Friends of Saltwater State Park,  friends.saltwater.statepark@gmail.com
Further information/event cancellation: 
friends.saltwater.statepark@gmail.com

Saltwater State Park
*** EVENT RELOCATED TO DASH POINT STATE PARK *** Swap your boots for a kayak, canoe or a stand-up paddleboard (SUP)! Tour the boundaries of the nearby Marine Protected Area while enjoying a view of Saltwater State Park from the water. This First Day event is recommended for experienced paddlers. Coldwater paddle sports carry strong risks but can provide beautiful views and prime wildlife watching opportunities. Hot beverages and snacks provided following the paddle trip.

Our apologies! The First Day Paddle is being relocated to Dash Point State Park because Saltwater State Park has been closed due to ongoing issues with the adjacent sewer district's significant overflow into McSorley Creek and Saltwater State Park. Water samples collected and tested by the Seattle and King County Public Health Office show the levels of fecal contamination are falling but are still too high for public safety. 

Name of hike: Saltwater State Park First Day ‘Paddle’    
Name of trail: Marine Protected Area
Time: 10 a.m.
Length of paddle: Approximately 2 miles, depending on conditions
Where to meet: Lower parking lot near the snack shack building
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Minimum age of participant: None, as long as participant can paddle 2 miles safely
Note: For more information on how to prepare for paddling in cold water, check out our Boating Program's valuable online information.
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes (pooch PFD recommended)|
What to bring:  Bring your own canoe, kayak, SUP or other human-powered craft, along with safety gear (life jacket, whistle, etc.) and warm clothing and waterproof jacket.
Contact/organizer: Ranger Daniel Yorkston, Saltwater@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: 253-661-4956, 
Saltwater@parks.wa.gov

Rockport 2018

Now, those trees are the bee's knees! Rockport State Park's old-growth forest is a peaceful, inspirational way to kick off 2020.

KITSAP COUNTY

Scenic Beach State Park
NEW THIS YEAR! Join Ranger Steve Ryder on a hike exploring some of the history and views at Scenic Beach State Park. After the hike,  we’ll have an optional Polar Puppy Plunge for our four-legged friends who want to start the New Year off with a refreshing dip in the Hood Canal.

Name of hike: Scenic Beach First Day Hike and Puppy Plunge      
Time: 10 a.m.
Length of hike: .75 miles              
Where to meet: Office/kiosk
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Hiking footwear, dress for the weather
Contact/organizer: (360) 830-5079
Further information/event cancellation: 360-830-5079

PIERCE COUNTY

Dash Point State Park (Update 12/3019)
*** RELOCATED FROM SALTWATER STATE PARK *** Swap your boots for a kayak, canoe or a stand-up paddleboard (SUP)! Tour the boundaries of the nearby Marine Protected Area while enjoying a view of Saltwater State Park from the water. This First Day event is recommended for experienced paddlers. Coldwater paddle sports carry strong risks but can provide beautiful views and prime wildlife watching opportunities. Hot beverages and snacks provided following the paddle trip.

Name of hike: Dash Point State Park First Day ‘Paddle’    
Name of trail: Shoreline
Time: 10 a.m.
Length of paddle: Approximately 2 miles, depending on conditions
Where to meet: Lower parking lot near the snack shack building
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Minimum age of participant: None, as long as participant can paddle 2 miles safely
Note: For more information on how to prepare for paddling in cold water, check out our Boating Program's valuable online information.
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes (pooch PFD recommended)|
What to bring:  Bring your own canoe, kayak, SUP or other human-powered craft, along with safety gear (life jacket, whistle, etc.) and warm clothing and waterproof jacket.
Contact/organizer: Ranger Daniel Yorkston, Saltwater@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: 253-661-4956, Saltwater@parks.wa.gov

Dash Point State Park
NEW THIS YEAR! (ADDED DEC. 23): Bring your canine hiking buddy for some fun and to learn some proper public and social behavior. Please register for this hike with Allison Lu, hike leader and dog mom to Hamish, and to get more information about rules and expectations. 

Name of hike: First Day Dog Hike
Name of trail: Beach, Boundary and Fern Alley trails
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Length of hike: 3 miles
Where to meet: Day-use parking lot by the beach
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None.
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring: For humans: Snacks, water, weather-proof clothing and shoes. Recommended for dogs: Snacks/treats and water and water bowl, plenty of poop bags, towels/cleaning wipes, flea/tick spray, paw protector wax, dog-carrying backpack for smaller dogs. If you don’t have a particular item, don’t worry! Just bring what makes you comfortable.
Contacts/organizers: Allison Lu and John Floberg, Washington State Parks Foundation,
Further information/event cancellation: Allison, (425) 679-2447, allison@wspf.org; John, (206) 486-7275, john@wspf.org 

Kopachuck State Park
NEW THIS YEAR! Join us for a 60-minute walk through our beautiful forested trails. Guided walks are unscripted and are designed to be interactive.
Name of hike:  Kopachuck State Park First Day Hike                        
Name of trail:  A, B, C, D trails
Time:  10 a.m.
Length of hike: 1 mile
Where to meet: At the information signs next to the restrooms in the day use parking lot.
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Water and wear appropriate clothes and footwear
Contact/organizer: Ranger Shawn Douty, shawn.douty@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (253) 265-3606

SAN JUAN COUNTY

(ADDED DEC. 12) Moran State Park
Take a ranger-led hike along a trail covered in trees and greenery to Cascade Falls. Follow Cascade Creek back to Cascade Lake. During the hike, you'll learn about the history of Moran State Park, as well as the flora. You may also see black tail deer and many kinds of birds, including winters swan that visit the lake this time of year. The hike ends at the lake, but participants can continue around the lake for 3 additional miles.

Name of hike: Cascade Lake First Day Hike
Name of trail: Cascade Falls Loop Trail
Time:  11 a.m.
Length of hike: 1.5 miles
Where to meet: South end parking area
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: Anyone who can walk 1.5 miles
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring: Warm clothes, sturdy shoes, water and snacks
Contact/organizer: William Hoppe, william.hoppe@parks.wa.gov 
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 376-2326

SKAGIT COUNTY

Rockport State Park
This year's First Day Hike kicks off another season of "Healthy Hikes" and will be led by Valerie Stafford, local fitness instructor and owner of Encore Fitness in Concrete. Valerie will include tips for stretching and warming up, nutrition and other fitness ideas for a healthy 2020

Name of hike: Get in Gear to Start the New Year!
Name of trail: Evergreen Trail
Time:  10 a.m.
Length of hike: 2.5 miles
Where to meet: Day use parking lot
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Good walking boots/shoes weather-appropriate clothing, trekking poles, traction cleats for shoes if there is snow on the ground.
Contact/organizer: Don Smith, senior park aide, (360) 420-4173

ParkscriptionsDayLarrabee27

Enjoy the rugged beauty of Bellingham Bay on a First Day Hike at Larrabee State Park.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

Wallace Falls State Park 
NEW THIS YEAR! 
Join Senior Park Aide Leslie Holmes on this kid-friendly walk to explore some of the more minute members of the Wallace Falls State Park forest ecosystem. Learn about the ecological role epiphytes play, their biology and identification, and about their use as bio-indicators.

Name of hike:  Epiphytes: Mosses, Lichens, and Liverworts
Name of trail:  Small Falls Loop Trail
Time:  Noon
Length of hike: 1 mile round trip
Where to meet: Poetry sign, about .25 miles in. Arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to get to meeting location.
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring: Winter-appropriate clothing, hiking boots, water and snacks. Some hand lenses will be available, but feel free to bring your own. A headlamp or other external lighting may also be helpful in illuminating the micro features of these plants.
Contact/organizer: Leslie Holmes, leslie.holmes@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 793-0420

Wallace Falls State Park
Ranger Kevin Lease will lead a hike to Middle Falls. Learn about the park history, hiking trails, park features  and more. We will hike at a slow to moderate pace and make several stops. Hiking time will be about three hours round trip.

Name of hike:  Hike to Middle Falls
Name of trail:  Woody Trail
Time:  9:30 a.m.
Length of hike: 4.2 miles round trip
Where to meet: Parking area trailhead
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring: Clothing appropriate for a winter hike, sturdy hiking boots, extra water and snacks.
Contact/organizer: Ranger Kevin Lease, Kevin.Lease@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 793-0420

Note about parking at Wallace Falls hikes: The parking lot at the park can get quite here, and parking is not allowed on the county road. Please plan to carpool if you can. You can check the parking lot’s web camera, which is updated every minute.

WHATCOM COUNTY

Larrabee State Park
NEW THIS YEAR! This hike will be led by Mallory Suggs, office assistant for State Parks Whatcom Bays Area. During this hike, you will walk along a trail covered in trees and greenery, along with impressive “tafoni,” also known as honeycomb rock formations. The trail will lead to Lost Lake, one of two lakes within Larrabee State Park. Once at the lake, you’ll have the option of strolling around the lake or heading back down the trail. Along the hike, you will learn about the flora and fauna and the history of Larrabee, Washington’s first state park.

Name of hike: Lost Lake First Day Hike
Name of trail: Rock Trail and South Lost Lake Trail
Time:  9 a.m.
Length of hike: 4 miles roundtrip
Where to meet: Cyrus Gates Overlook, top of Cleator Road
Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum age of participant: None
Note: Rock trail includes more than 300 stair steps
ADA accessible?  No
Stroller accessible? No
Dogs allowed on leash?  Yes
What to bring:  Warm clothes, sturdy shoes, water and snacks  
Contact/organizer: Mallory Suggs, (360) 676-2093, mallory.suggs@parks.wa.gov
Further information/event cancellation: (360) 676-2093

For our 2020 First Day Hikes, parks around the state are offering more hikes than ever before! So many, in fact, we divided them into three blogs. Did you miss Monday’s or  yesterday’s blog? We highlighted First Day Hikes at our eastern and southwest Washington parks, respectively. Check them out!

That's all folks! We at Washington State Parks hope you enjoy 2020 and that you will kick it off with a memorable First Day Hike!

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!