Nolte State Park, 40 more among First Day Hikes event

Ranger Annabelle Bailey plans to lead the 1.4 mile hike while talking about native and invasive plant species and animal habitats.

What’s a better way to ring in the new year than taking a free ranger- or self-guided tour at one of Washington’s many state parks?

First Day Hikes, held Jan. 1, 2022, will be held at more than 40 state parks this coming year, including Nolte State Park here on the Plateau.

According to a Dec. 6 press release, “First Day Hikes will range in difficulty from paved, flat ADA-accessible trails to moderate hill climbs. A few parks will host more than one hike with options tailored to various interests and abilities. Additionally, some hikes may include an educational component as rangers will speak on the history or natural features of the area.”

Visitors to parks hosting First Day Hikes events will not need a Discover Pass; however, be aware that some hikes require registration, buy (or rent) particular equipment, or purchase a Sno-Park permit.

The Nolte State Park hike — barring any new COVID restrictions — will be led by Ranger Annabelle Bailey, who has lived at the park for four years.

“I’ve done a fair amount of research on native species and invasive species,” Bailey said in a recent interview. “I’ll just walk around the park and — it’s mostly geared toward our younger crowd — pointing out various types of trees, various invasive species, and then certain habitats that local wildlife live in.”

Bailey added that light refreshments of hot chocolate and Nature Valley bars will be provided before the 1.4-mile hike, as well as hand warmers, since the park can get cold in the winter due to Deep Lake (Bailey said the temperature for First Day Hikes at Nolte are around 30 degrees, so bundle up).

Hikers will meet at the main bulletin board near the park bathrooms, and will start around 10 a.m.; the park is stroller-accessible, as well as dog-friendly (as long as they’re leashed).


For a full list of First Day Hikes in Washington’s northwest region (as well as southwest and Eastern Washington hikes), head to, but here’s a few others locals may also be interested in:


Name of trail: Interpretive Sand Dunes Trail

Time: 10 a.m.

Length of hike: 0.5 miles round-trip loop

Where to meet: West Beach Shelter

Difficulty: Easy

Minimum age of participant: N/A

ADA accessible? Yes

Stroller accessible? Yes

Dogs allowed on leash? Yes

Restrictions: N/A

What to bring: Appropriate clothing for the weather (i.e., jacket, hat, gloves, and other warm clothes) and hiking shoes.

Contact/Organizer: Hayley Johnson Call (360) 675-3767 ext. 231 or email Hayley.Johnson@PARKS.WA.GOV

Additional Information: Starting at the West Beach Shelter, Park staff will guide hikers around the Sand Dunes Interpretive Trail loop. This is a paved ADA and stroller accessible trail with minor bumps along the way. On this hike, we will find great views of the Salish Sea, travel around dune forests, wetlands, sandy beach, and visit one of the oldest trees in the Park. Children are welcome on the trail.

Contact Number: (360) 675-3767 ext. 231


Name of Trail: Woody Trail

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Length of hike: 2.1-miles one way

Where to meet: Trailhead by trail register

Difficulty: Moderate

ADA accessible: No

Stroller accessible: No

Minimum age: No minimum

Leashed dogs allowed? Yes

Restrictions: Trail is moderately challenging, with 800 feet of elevation gain to Middle Falls in 2.1 miles distance.

Things to bring: Hiking Boots, hiking poles if you find them useful

Contact/Organizer: Ranger Kevin Lease Call (360) 793-0420 or email:

Additional Information: Ranger led hike to Middle Falls. Ranger will talk about park history, features, forest ecology, and answer questions about the park. We will stop at a few locations for breaks and short talks, with final stop at Middle Falls, the main waterfall viewpoint in the park.

Contact Number: (360) 793-0420


Time: 10 a.m.

Length of hike: 1.5-2.5 miles

Where to meet: Group Camp across from Ranger Station

Difficulty: Easy

ADA accessible: No

Stroller accessible: No

Minimum age: None

Leashed dogs allowed? Yes

Restrictions: The boardwalks may be too slick, so route might change depending upon conditions. Also, with winter conditions, trail may be a little rough and make stroller accessibility more difficult. Please contact park prior to First Day Hike for updated trail conditions.

Things to bring: Waterproof shoes and poles for muddy/flooded conditions

Contact/Organizer: Jackie Gigante. Email or call (360) 480-3014

Additional Information: Staff led hike through beautiful Civilian Conservation Corp constructed park.

Contact Number: (360) 480-3014