First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day

kick off State Parks Centennial 2013 year-long celebration

OLYMPIA –The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is kicking off a year-long State Parks Centennial 2013 celebration of statewide events, beginning with First Day Hikes on Jan. 1.

Hikers are encouraged to get out and ring in the new year and help State Parks celebrate its 100th birthday, with a bracing hike in any of the 13 parks participating in the program. The event offers participants a chance to start the year off with a healthy hike, “walk off” their holiday feasting and get a taste of the diverse natural resources and recreation opportunities found in state parks all over Washington.

The First Day Hikes scheduled as part of the day range from interpretive strolls through Pacific Northwest old-growth forests, snowshoe walks over snowy hillsides in Eastern Washington and family-friendly treks around the waters of Western Washington. The Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to the events.

Hikes offered in Washington state parks include:

Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island: An easy mile-and-a-half-mile hike runs from 1:30 to 3 p.m. beginning at the Marine View Trailhead. Participants will explore the wooded areas of the park and hike along Saratoga Passage, concluding at Cama Center. The hike is open to visitors of all ages and on-leash dogs are welcome.

Camano Island State Park on Camano Island: A moderate two-and-a-half-mile hike runs from 1 to 3 p.m. beginning at the Bluff Trailhead near the Lowell Point parking area. Participants will transverse the trail between Cama Beach and Camano Island state parks, with the hike ending at Cama Center. The hike is open to participants of all ages. A shuttle is available to return hikers to the Lowell Point parking area.

Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island: A moderate mile-and-a-half-mile hike runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning at Bowman Bay. Participants will walk along the shore of the Salish Sea at Rosario Beach, then up Rosario Head for views of Deception Island and the Puget Sound. The hike is open to visitors of all ages. There is one steep section of trail that may be difficult for younger children. Participants are asked to leave pets at home.

• Fort Townsend State Park in Port Townsend: An easy hike begins at 1 p.m. in the park’s day-use parking area. Visitors will discover the flora and fauna living at the park in the newly installed Fort Townsend State Park mural by Larry Eilfert before hiking through the dense Olympic Peninsula forest. The hike is open to participants 5 years of age and older (younger children are welcome if carried) and on-leash dogs are allowed.

Olallie State Park and Iron Horse State Park in North Bend: A moderate three-mile interpretive hike begins at 11 a.m. at the Cedar Falls Trailhead in Iron Horse State Park. Participants will hike to Cedar Butte, running through Olallie State Park and along the old Milwaukee Railroad. Visitors will learn about the Boxley Blowout, a pre-Christmas flood in 1918 that permanently wiped the nearby town of Edgewick out of existence. The hike is open to participants 10 years of age and older. Visitors are asked to leave pets at home.