Washington State Parks, including Beacon Rock State Park in Skamania County, invites the public to start the new year off with a First Day Hike on Tuesday, Jan. 1, at nearly 40 state parks across Washington. Some parks will offer more than one hike.
“First Day Hikes are a terrific way to ring in the New Year and enjoy the substantial beauty of Washington state parks in the winter,” said Don Hoch, Washington State Parks director. “The First Day Hikes will have something for every fitness level and interest, including guided hikes with rangers, snowshoe treks, fat bike rides, and even a Puget Sound paddle.”
First Day Hikes will take place in a diverse and dramatic range of landscapes and historic features, including coastal and Puget Sound beaches, islands, waterfalls, lowland forests, lighthouses, geological points of interest and more.
Jan. 1 also is the first of 12 State Parks free days taking place in 2019. Park visitors will not need to display the Discover Pass on vehicles to access state parks for the New Year’s Day activities or for other state park visits on free days.
However, during the winter, some state parks require a Sno-Park permit. For more information about how to obtain a Sno-Park permit, visit https://parks.state.wa.us/130/Winter-recreation.
Most participating parks will offer refreshments following the outings, thanks to funding from the Seattle RV and Puyallup RV shows.
Participants should plan for winter weather and dress appropriately, including wearing sturdy footwear. Snacks and water also are recommended. Parks requiring a Sno-Park permit are noted below.
Beacon Rock State Park: Take a ranger-led hike up the 2-mile Beacon Rock Trail for sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge. Then head for the Doetsch day-use shelter to warm up by the campfire, roast hot dogs and marshmallows and drink hot chocolate. Meet at 10 a.m.
Washington was among the first states in the nation to participate in First Day Hikes, a nationwide initiative organized by the National Association of State Parks Directors. More information about the program and hikes offered all over the country is available at www.naspd.org/initiatives-special-programs/first-day-hikes/.