The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission invites the public to celebrate the first day of 2014 with “First Day Hikes,” an event available at select state parks on Jan. 1.
In the spirit of the new year, Washingtonians are encouraged to start 2014 with a healthy hike and connect with the diverse natural resources and recreational opportunities found at state parks across Washington on New Year’s Day. Fifteen state parks are offering guided hikes ranging from interpretive strolls through military batteries and Puget Sound coastal forests, to snowshoe walks in the Selkirk and Cascade mountains.
The Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to the parks for the event.
“First Day Hikes are a great way for families and individuals to enjoy, appreciate and support their Washington state parks,” said Don Hoch, Washington State Parks director.
“We’re thrilled to participate in this nationwide effort that encourages Americans to get outdoors from the very beginning of the new year. This is a way that families can create a new memorable New Year’s Day tradition.”
Five of the 15 state parks that are taking part in the Jan. 1 event are located within two or three hours drive time from the Lower Yakima Valley. They include:
Goldendale Observatory State Park in Goldendale - this event starts with an evening hike, followed by a stargazing session in the Observatory, led by the park’s interpretive specialist. Meet at 6:30 p.m. in the state park parking lot. Pets on leashes are welcome.
Lake Wenatchee State Park near Leavenworth - snowshoe on North Lake Loop for a one-mile excursion of moderate difficulty. Meet at 10 a.m. at the North Park Sno-Park. A Seasonal Sno-Park Permit and a Special Groomed Trail Permit – or a One-Day Sno-Park Permit and Discover Pass – are required for vehicle access to this event. Sno-Park permits are available for purchase online at www.parks.wa.gov/winter. Participants must be 10 years of age or older to participate. Please leave pets at home. Snowshoes are required.
Mount Spokane State Park in Mead - snowshoe along Trail 130 for a 2- to 4-mile, round-trip hike. Meet at 10 a.m. at the snowmobile parking lot. A Seasonal Sno-Park Permit and a Special Groomed Trail Permit or a One-Day Sno-Park Permit and a Discover Pass are required for vehicle access to the event. Snowshoes are required, and pets are allowed, as long as they are on leashes.
Nolte State Park in Enumclaw - explore the forested 1.25-mile-loop around Deep Lake at this 11 a.m. hike through the Green River Gorge. Meet at the state park parking lot. On-leash pets are welcome.
Riverside State Park in Spokane - take the swing bridge over the Spokane River for a hike on the Bowl and Pitcher River Trail. Participants will see the unique basalt rock formations cut by the Spokane River known as the Bowl and Pitcher. Meet in the Bowl and Pitcher Swinging Bridge parking lot at 1 p.m. Participants should be prepared for any weather conditions; snowshoes may be required. Pets on leashes are allowed.