Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Outside Trail Smarts How To How To Use WTA's Hiking Guide

How To Use WTA's Hiking Guide

WTA’s Online Hiking Guide is full of great information about thousands of trails across the state. These tips will help you find the right trail and tell you how to get the most out of the trail description.

WTA’s Online Hiking Guide is full of great information about thousands of trails across the state. With so many options, it can be daunting to find that perfect trail. 

These tips will help you find what you're looking for and get the most out of each hiking guide entry. There are so many great features packed into every hike that will make planning easier and help you pick where to go. 

How Do I Find the Perfect Hike?

We can’t tell you what your perfect hike will be, but we can help you narrow down the options based on what you’re looking for. Search the Hiking Guide using filters and you will only see results that are relevant to you. 

Hiking Guide Filters MenuRegion: Start by selecting a region from the drop-down menu, then an option to choose a sub-region will appear to help narrow your search down further. 

Features: If you are looking for a specific type of landscape or nature experience, select from this list to find hikes that include those elements you want to see.  

Pass Type: Because different land managers require different parking passes, this is a great way to find places where you can use the pass you already have, or even trailheads that don’t require any pass at all.

Mileage/Elevation: This filter will help you search by difficulty level. This is also where you can set the maximum high point, which is great during the winter to find snow-free hikes. 

Keyword: This is an open-ended filter where you can search the hike description for any word or phrase. If that word or phrase appears in the hike description it will turn up. This is a great option if you’re looking for something specific (larches, suspension bridges, rock walls, etc…). 

How Do I Get the Most Out of the Hiking Guide?

Each Hiking Guide entry is so much more than just a trail description. Check out these features you may not have known about. You can get a weather forecast tailored to the exact location of the trailhead, learn what pass you need, find driving directions and so much more. And, create a My Backpack account to save hikes for later and keep track of all the places you've been. 

Stats and Features from Hiking Guide
The top of each Hike gives a general overview of location, difficulty, rating and features. And the best part is you can save it to My Backpack to come back to later. 

Check out all these great features that can be found in the body of every hiking guide entry. Not sure where to find them? Scroll down to find a photo showing their location.  

Land Manager: The land manager will be listed under the "Trailhead" section. 

Transit Directions: Where applicable, we've included transit directions under the "Getting There" section. For most hikes these are local bus routes, while other hikes are serviced by Trailhead Direct, a public transit transit program in King County geared specifically for hikers. 

Weather Forecast: Click on this link and you will be taken to a forecast on that is pinpointed to exactly where the trailhead is. 

Maps: Each hike has an image of a map, which shows where the trailhead is located. The driving directions will take you to this pin.

Some hikes also include a map showing the trail, which you can download and print for free (look for a link that says, "download a map to pan your hike.") These maps are for planning purposes, and should not be used for navigation out on the trail.

The third mapping resource is a link to buy an official map from GreenTrails.  

Getting There section of the Hiking Guide
This section below the map is loaded with great features to make planning easy. 

How to Read Trip Reports

Trip Reports are different from Hiking Guide entries: A Hiking guide entry is the official description of a trail, and it does not change over time. A Trip Report is the account of one person's experience on that trail on a certain date. At the bottom of each Hiking Guide entry you can find trip reports, which are helpful for learning about the current conditions. Anyone can write a Trip Report to share on-the-ground information with their fellow hikers. 

Trip Report Section
Trip Reports can be found at the bottom of the Hiking Guide entry. The most recent ones are at the top. 

While WTA's Hiking Guide is a wealth of knowledge, it's always a good idea to check with land managers for current conditions, the Northwest Avalanche Center for snow conditions during the winter and the Department of Transportation for mountain pass road conditions. Do ample research and planning and your hike will be a blast!