With each new year, we find ourselves overflowing with optimism, our brains planning out how to achieve our ideal 365 days. We make plans to be positive, eat well, get in shape or to be happier. Make 2017 about getting outside, taking hikes and exploring nature.
In nature, your level of happiness improves, you are getting in better shape and you are working off those winter snacks. Here are seven hikes for the new year. On each one, you will open up your soul to nature and reconnect to the wonderful wildness found just beyond our communities. For more outdoor hiking ideas, check out and find the perfect family outing.
1. Kalaloch to Ruby Beach
Everyone loves a walk on the beach. Out along the Olympic Coast, one stretch of sandy shores captivates the heart and soul of the Pacific Northwest, perfectly blending accessibility with jaw-dropping views of natural wonders. From the Kalaloch Campground to Ruby Beach, the hike is more of a leisurely walk, letting you experience a slice of coast that will jumpstart your wanderlust.
From the Kalaloch Campground parking lot, hiking north to Ruby Beach will have you passing the Kalaloch Root Tree and working your way north to the breathtaking sea stacks of Ruby Beach. The whole hike is a 14 mile out and back trek, but fear not. Both of these iconic Olympic National Park destinations can be accessed from Highway 101 if you don’t feel like walking the whole stretch. Ruby Beach is a short hike from a parking lot, offering incredible beach access for those looking for a much shorter hike. This is one of.
2. Pony Bridge
Located at the end of a road in the Quinault Rainforest, theis a classic family-friendly hikes in this region of Olympic National Park. Staring off at Graves Creek, the trail slowly wanders up a hill into the rainforest. Passing by small creeks and towering trees, it is little wonder why this area is growing in popularity. The trail is less than five miles round trip, leading to a breath-taking wooden bridge spanning a box canyon. As the blue water rushes underneath your feet, the remainder of the trail beckons. Pony Bridge is the entry point to true Quinault Rainforest wilderness and is a must-hike for 2017.
3. Colonel Bob
There are few places in the world where you can hike for four miles and then stand on top of a rainforest, gaze into the wilderness, take in a giant lake and peer out toward the breaking waves of the Pacific Ocean. Yet, this is all possible from the.
Steep and moderately difficult, this hike is well worth the effort as it leads to a breathtaking view. The full panoramic view of the Olympic Peninsula, the Pacific Ocean, Grays Harbor and more are your reward. While your legs may be burning, this is the moment that gives your hiking a purpose, the view that will give you memories through the rainy days and workweek. Colonel Bob Peak, while only 4,492 feet, gives you world class views only a few hours from home.
4. Maple Grove and Kestner Farm
If climbing Colonel Bob is too tough, table it for later in the year and hike theon the north side of Lake Quinault. The two trails combine for a stunning 1.8 mile lollipop loop, weaving through intense green forests, beautiful maples and fields full of ferns, elk and signs of the homesteading era. Easy enough for the newest of hikers, this trail is completely underrated and always worth the hike, no matter the weather. The Maple Grove Trail is one of the best easy trails in Olympic and pairs perfectly with the Rainforest Loop Trail in Olympic National Forest on the other side of the lake. If you love accessibility, beautiful nature and seeing elk, this is the spot for you.
5. Damon Point
Closer to home,offers spectacular views of mountains, the ocean and numerous migrating birds. Giving you four miles of beach to walk, this place is a beachcomber’s paradise. Full of agates, shells, floats and even petrified wood, Damon Point is the ideal place to walk and scour the beach after a storm. Even in the summer, walking the Point will reward you with sightings of eagles, deer, seals and maybe even a gray whale in the distance. The spring is another great time to go as the region is full of shorebirds.
6. Lake Sylvia
Washington’s state parks are full of hiking beauty and natural wonders, so it should come as no surprise we included one on our list.with five miles of trails to explore one short mile from Montesano. While this area was once logged out, today it shows the resilience of nature in the region and demonstrates how regrowth occurs in once heavily logged regions. The trails are gorgeous, highlighted by the lake itself. On warm days, you can take a dip in the water or just watch wildlife from one of many fantastic viewpoints. With numerous areas for picnics, this is a perfect introduction to the natural beauty of Grays Harbor.
7. Wynoochee Lake
Far from the city and decades away from modern life, the trail along Wynoochee Lake is a beautiful and remote trip into the wilderness of the Olympic Peninsula. With incredible waterfalls, fantastic camping and a trail that circumnavigates the lake, a trip to Wynoochee is long overdue. Highlighted by a. While the route around the lake is amazing, even a few miles of trekking along the Lake Shore Trail will inspire. Most famous for logging, the Wynoochee dam and reported Sasquatch sightings, the area is an underrated gem and one of the least visited regions of Olympic National Forest. If you want solitude, wilderness and a chance to see Bigfoot, make your way up the Wynoochee.