Rules & safety
Our parks have a wide variety of hiking trails: from short, flat strolls to long, altitude-gaining treks. No matter which trail you're headed out on, there are some universal etiquette guidelines to get you started:
The outdoors are for everyone.
Tell someone where you are
Cell service can be limited in many areas. Always tell someone back home where you're going and when you expect to be back.
Prepare for basic needs
Bring plenty of water and snacks and wear the right gear. Dress in comfortable clothing and sneakers or hiking boots. Try to avoid cotton clothing, which absorbs sweat and moisture and causes rapid body heat loss. If possible, dress in moisture-wicking fabrics. Depending on the weather: wear thermal clothing or hats and sunscreen.
Know who has the right of way
Bikes yield to hikers and hikers yield to horses. Hikers heading uphill have the right of way. If there's someone hiking behind you at a faster pace, it's courteous to move to the side to let them pass.
Keep music to yourself
Bluetooth speakers are for the campsite, not the trail. If you're listening to music on your headphones, be sure you're still aware of your surroundings.
Leave valuables at home and lock your car
Don't leave anything valuable in your car at a trailhead, vehicle break-ins can happen.
Leash your pets
It's a rule in our parks to keep pets on a 6 foot leash. This helps protect you, other trail users and your pet from danger. Remember: You're dog might come when they're called at home, but new environments present new distractions like bikers and equestrians, marine and terrestrial wildlife and waterfalls.
Stay on the trail
Sometimes you will see short cuts or "social trails" but please stay on marked, official trails. We can cause unintentional damage to plants and the outdoors around us.
Pack it in, pack it out
Leave no trace. Whatever you bring with you on the trail should come right back out with you. Yes, even poop. Food scraps may seem okay to toss into the woods, but they can cause increased animal activity on the trails which can be dangerous to other hikers and the animals themselves.
Popular parks with Hiking
Getting started with Hiking
Before heading out for a hike, it's a good idea to do a few things first:
Check the weather
Will it be hot? You'll need extra water, sunscreen and a hat. Cold? Bring a down coat and layers. Wet? Lower your expectations for coming back without mud and pack extra socks.
Check the location
Be aware of park opening and closing times and check to make sure there aren't any alerts or closures for the trails you're thinking about exploring.
Check your passes and permits
All Washington state public lands require a Discover Pass for parking. Some trails and locations need additional reservations or passes.
Map & visitor guide
Use the Find a Park Page to see maps and visitor guides for a specific park.