First Day Hikes in Washington offers an experience for everyone to get outside and enjoy our beautiful state parks by participating in ranger and staff-led hikes, bike rides, snowshoe excursions, and more offered at 40+ parks on New Year’s Day. When you are done, you may pick up your free, collectible Washington State Parks 2024 First Day Hikes pin! All hikes are free, and a Discover Pass is NOT needed to park on state-managed lands on Jan. 1, the first Washington State Parks Free Day of 2024. However, you may need to register for some events with participation limits and/or purchase the appropriate Sno-Park permit. Be sure to read hike descriptions carefully and check the park’s event descriptions to make sure you are registered and have what you need.
Here are 13 First Day Hikes happening on New Year’s Day:
Enjoy this waterfront park with beautiful views, where an interpretive specialist will take you on a 2.5-mile hike out to Cranberry Lake. You will learn about the park and wildlife, where there is a beaver lodge and signs of activity. You will meet at the Drop-off Shelter at 1 p.m. and enjoy hot chocolate before your adventure.
Spend your time outside and hike on the Howards Adams Trail, where you will be led by the interpretive specialist, Meredith Peterson. You will start the hike at 1 p.m. and enjoy hot drinks and snacks before walking 2.5 miles on the trail through the forest.
Check out the newest trail, “New Year, New Trail,” in Federal Way, with a park ranger leading the hike. This trail is less than 1 mile long and is excellent for all ages. This trail may be muddy and slippery, so bring proper outdoor gear. You will start at the Campground Contact Station at 2 p.m.
First-day hikers are welcome to meet at Bowman Bay at Deception Pass State Park for a fun morning of hikes and activities. There will be treats and warm drinks before exploring the park. Be ready for a scavenger hunt, great for all ages, where participants can look for birds and marine mammals while enjoying amazing views. The hike starts at 10 a.m.
Learn about military history for a 1-mile round trip hike, with a scenic view of the 1903 vintage lighthouse and catacomb-like bunkers at Fort Casey State Park. You will meet at the circular exhibit area along the path from the main parking lot. Note: there are occasional noisy conditions due to jets flying over the park.
Location: 1280 Engle Road, Coupeville, WA 98239
Start the New Year with a biking adventure on Whidbey Island guided by a park ranger. This is a medium to advanced-level, 4-mile bike ride. There will be brief breaks with interpretive talks and questions to learn about Fort Ebey State Park. It is required to pre-register before the event start date, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and include names and ages of participants. The bike ride is from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Start the new year with a hiking adventure with your family, looking for birds and beavers, led by an interpretive specialist. This hike is close to Seattle and is youth and family-friendly (less than half a mile trail). There will be the Polar Plunge 2024 after this hike. Hike time includes 10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: 2182 NW Sammamish Rd, Issaquah, WA 98027
Start the new year with a 3-mile guided hike on San Juan Island to see Whale Wall, the Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse, and the oldest manmade structure in WA State Parks, the historic Lime Kilns. This hike is known as one of the best whale-watching spots on Earth. The hike starts at 10:30 a.m.
This hike is located South of Seattle, where you will start the hike at 10 a.m. by the snack shack. Enjoy a 1.5 – 2-mile hike with various trail conditions. After the hike, you can visit the sandy beach getaway on your own time. Families are welcome if children can handle the mileage.
Location: 25205 8th Place S, Des Moines, WA 98198
This hike is excellent for families with young children to help them learn the best ways to hike with kids and get them excited about the outdoors. The walk is a short stretch of trail and provides different ideas for keeping the kids engaged. Arrive at 11 a.m., and you must register in advance by emailing CentralWhidbeyInterpretation@parks.wa.gov.
Enjoy a hot chocolate, cider, or tea before starting the hike to the new Spencer Spit Preserve led by one of the park rangers. This is an easy 1.5-mile beginner hike with a bit of elevation gain and loss and beautiful views facing Swifts Bay and Flow Island. The hike will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Come and join the New Year Hike with a park ranger on January 1st, where you will get to stop at multiple viewpoints and learn about the park’s history, wildlife, and park features. You will start the 2-mile hike at 9:30 a.m. and finish around 12:30 p.m.
Join a guided snowshoe hike around Lake Easton Reload Park to celebrate the First Day Hike in Eastern Washington. This is a 2-mile round-trip hike and is an excellent opportunity for beginners. Be sure to bring proper snow gear and waterproof shoes. The hike will be from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.