Veteran’s Day Fee Free Hikes!

This weekend is a great time to take advantage of the Veteran’s Day free day in our state and national parks! We’ll focus on a few options to #getoutsideallwinter in these fee free parks on Sunday, November 11th. Keep in mind that the official federal holiday is Monday, November 12th, but the day that the Washington State and national parks are free is SUNDAY (the 11th). The weather looks to be sunny or at least partly sunny in Seattle, on the Olympic Penninsula and in Mt Rainier National Park, which makes it even more exciting! Always check the weather before heading out as things can definitely change this time of year. The Washington Trails Association trip reports are also an excellent resource for learning the current conditions of trails (road condition, snow conditions, etc). Here are three options for Veteran’s Day Fee Free Hikes!

1. Mt Rainier National Park

Recently, we talked about some excellent rainy day hikes in Mt Rainier National Park and this would be a great weekend for any of those as they are also enjoyable in sunny weather! It looks like the chances of Mt Rainier being out are very good so Paradise and Chinook Pass would be fun places to play in a bit of early season snow with some epic mountain views. You can check the webcam to see if the mountain is out! Note that tire chains are required to be carried in all vehicles in the park regardless of weather or the type of vehicle starting November 1st.

Naches Peak Loop early season snow
Naches Peak Loop on a sunny day with early season snow (the road to Chinook Pass typically closes sometime in November)

2. Dash Point State Park

If you’d like to stay closer to home, try the trails at Dash Point State park in Federal Way (between Seattle and Tacoma) for beautiful forest walks and beach walks. There are many trails and loops that go all around the park, up and down hills through the forest and along Thames Creek. There are maps posted along the trails and you can also print one before you go here. In addition to miles of delightful forest walks, there is also a beach to visit.

Dash Point State Park Trail Fall
November on the forest trails in Dash Point State Park
Dash Point State Park Beach Fall
The beach in Dash Point State Park on a November day

3. Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

If you want to make a weekend out of it, you could head out to the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park (it’s a five hour drive from Seattle so not a day trip!) and stay in Forks. You could checkout the Olympic Beaches and the Quinalt Rainforest while there, as well as make a loop of the entire Olympic Penninsula if you like! There are no services in the Hoh Rainforest, so make sure to bring your own food and water. The Hoh is world famous for it’s ancient enormous trees, it’s lush undergrowth, and Roosevelt Elk. This weekend could be a rare opportunity to visit the Hoh without the crowds of summer and without rain (always bring a good raincoat and waterproof boots or shoes when exploring the rainforest no matter what the weather is currently doing!).

Hoh Rainforest sky view
Big leaf maples are one of the mighty trees of the Hoh. Once they lose their leaves you can see part of the sky!

Enjoy the weekend and many thanks to all the Veterans who have served our country!

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Jennie Flaming
Jennie Thwing Flaming, Chief Adventure Officer: Jennie's life has been a continual quest for adventure (of the non-adrenalin inducing kind) from birth till now. Professionally, she pursues adventures in teaching, counseling and working to obliterate institutional racism for students in our region's public schools and also works as a tour and hiking guide. Previous professional adventures include working in schools in Seattle and Alaska, leading tours and managing tour guides and traveling science shows and lessons with Pacific Science Center. She is working to earn a living outside and by sharing her beautiful and unique Pacific Northwest home with visitors. She likes to be outdoors and spend time with the people she loves. Jennie is born and raised in Seattle and has also lived in Alaska and the Netherlands.