First Day Hikes Provide an Opportunity to Explore State Parks

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On New Year’s Day, Washington State Parks will waive the normally required Discover Pass and allow free access to visitors of state parks. 

Better yet, the state is offering a broad range of First Day Hikes across the region, providing outdoor recreationalists with an opportunity to learn more about nearby gems. 

Washington’s New Year’s 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.

“From fairy-tale forests to towering lighthouses, wind-swept Pacific dunes to pristine volcanic lakes, southwest Washington state parks offer top-notch outdoor experiences,” State Parks wrote in a press release. “This New Year’s Day, experience the wild beauty that is southwest Washington with a First Day Hike at state parks south, west and a little east of Puget Sound.”

The only First Day Hike in Lewis County this year is at Lewis and Clark State Park. There’s also an event at Millersylvania State Park in Thurston County. 

Below is a rundown of each hike, and a couple others in nearby counties, as provided by Washington State Parks. 

Learn more at https://bit.ly/2QC8bTo.

 

Lewis and Clark State Park

Join park staff to explore the beautiful old-growth forest this park has to offer. Learn about the area’s rich history as well as the abundant flora and fauna. This scenic hike takes you under towering cedar and fir trees strung with lichen and moss and through a lush understory teeming with ferns. The hike will begin in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) kitchen shelter where a warm fire and drinks and snacks will be provided. A short presentation will take place on the local wildlife.

Name of hike: Lewis and Clark First Day Hike

Name of trail: Trail of the Deer/Old Growth Trail Loop

Time: 10 a.m.

Length of hike: 2 miles

Where to meet: Main front entrance gate. The park is closed to cars in the winter, so park across the road (Jackson Highway) by the park office. Walk past the gate up the roadway to the kitchen shelter where the hike begins. Look for signs indicating the start of the hike.

Difficulty: Moderate

Minimum age of participant: All ages; babies in backpacks welcome.

Note: The trail can be wet and muddy during the winter months, and there are tree roots to step over. The trail has a small amount of elevation gain throughout. Shorter alternate paths are available.

ADA accessible?  No

Stroller accessible? No

Dogs allowed on leash? Yes

What to bring: Rain gear, as well as warm winter layers. Sturdy hiking shoes or muck-boots. No technical gear required, though walking poles are welcome.

Contact/organizer: Alysa Adams, alysa.adams@parks.wa.gov

Further information/event cancellation: 360-864-2643

 

Millersylvania State Park

Take a ranger-led hike through this classic Pacific Northwest CCC camping park. Explore the wetlands, lakeside, forest and orchard.

Name of hike: Millersylvania First Day Hike

Name of trail: Fen Way, Maple Hollow and Old-Growth trails

Time: 10 a.m.

Length of hike: 2 to 4 miles

Where to meet: Shelter 3

Difficulty: Easy

Minimum age of participant: None

Note: Boardwalks may be icy, which may alter route

ADA accessible?  No

Stroller accessible? No

Dogs allowed on leash? Yes

What to bring: Sturdy shoes with good tread (waterproof shoes recommended but not required) and weather appropriate attire.

Contact/organizer: Ranger Lance Schlosser, millersylvania@parks.wa.gov

Further information/event cancellation: 360-753-1519

 

Beacon Rock State Park

Drinking in the dramatic beauty of the Columbia River is a great way to start the new year. After the hike, join the fun at Doetsch Day-Use Shelter, and enjoy a campfire, roast hot dogs and marshmallows, and warm up with some hot chocolate.

Name of hike: Beacon Rock First Day Hike

Name of trail:  Beacon Rock Trail

Time: 10 a.m.

Length of hike: 2 miles

Where to meet: Beacon Rock Trailhead

Difficulty: Moderate

Minimum age of participant: None

ADA accessible?  No

Stroller accessible? No

Dogs allowed on leash? Yes

What to bring: Camera, binoculars, bring plenty of warm clothes

Contact/organizer: Bob Holland, bob.holland@parks.wa.gov

Further information/event cancellation: 509-427-8265

 

Cape Disappointment State Park

Join Interpretive Specialist Aaron Webster on a walk through time and learn the fascinating history of this well-loved park.

Name of hike: A Walk Through Time

Name of trail: Boardwalk Trail

Time: Noon

Length of hike: 1.5 miles

Where to meet: Bolstad Beach Approach

Difficulty: Easy

Minimum age of participant: None

Note: Dress for winter weather on the Pacific Coast

ADA accessible? Yes

Stroller accessible? Yes

Dogs allowed on leash? Yes

What to bring:  Water, wet weather gear

Contact/organizer: Aaron Webster, aaron.webster@parks.wa.gov

Further information/event cancellation: 360-642-3029

 

Lake Sylvia State Park 

Take an easy afternoon ranger-led stroll through this classic Montesano-area favorite. Check out the dam left over from the hydro-electric station that once provided power to the area.

Name of hike: Lake Sylvia State Park First Day Hike

Name of trail: Lake Sylvia Loop

Time: 12:30 p.m.

Length of hike: 2.3 miles

Where to meet: Legacy Pavilion

Difficulty: Easy

Minimum age of participant: 8

ADA accessible?  No

Stroller accessible? No

Dogs allowed on leash? Yes

What to bring: Rubber boots and wet-weather clothing.

Contact/organizer: Nick Schwalb, nick.schwalb@parks.wa.gov

Further information/event cancellation: 360-249-3621