Tips and Inspiration to Help You Set Goals for a Year of Happy Hiking
Resources and inspiration to help you create your own hiking goals and meet them.
The new year is almost here, and it's a wonderful timed of year to reflect on the past while dreaming about the future. At WTA, we love to see folks setting new goals for their hiking — whether that's to simply go for a single hike in your local park or to complete a challenging hike you've always dreamed about.
It's hard to know what the new year will bring, but we do know that hiking will continue to be a great way to care your brain and your body. With that in mind, we've collected some resources and inspiration to help you create your own hiking goals.
And, we'd love to hear from you! What are your goals for the year to come? Let us know in the comments.
If you're new to hiking, easing into things is a good way to get started.
- Use our Hiking Guide to search for hikes that are lower in mileage and have less elevation gain. See if you enjoy hiking easier trails before tackling the big stuff. This is also a great way to find a good trail if you're recovering from an injury.
- If you find some hikes to try out, save them to My Backpack, which acts like your own personal organizer here on the WTA site. Save hikes, leave trip reports, upload photos and more!
- Before you head out, take a look at our Hiking 101 guide, which will tell you what you need to know to get started safely.
- How to make a perfect hiking plan in five steps.
To get you started, here are some of the stories we've shared over the years about getting ready for a year of hiking.
- 7 winter hikes to match your adventure goals.
- 5 tips to start your own outdoor traditions.
- Resolve to go outside more — how to make a goal that brings you joy.
Explore somewhere new
Washington has a huge range of trails and areas to discover. Whether you like hiking in old growth forests, on the beach, or along craggy ridges, there's a hike out there for you. Explore the state at a glance with our Hike Finder Map to get info on regions you haven't been to before.
Putting on the miles
If big miles and long hikes are on your agenda, take a look at these resources:
- Consider plotting your own loop hike to hit multiple destinations in a weekend.
- Use our Hiking Guide to sort trails by mileage and find one that fits your timeline.
- Our Long-Distance Hiking 101 guide is a great place to get info before lacing up your boots.
Looking to spend some quality time with the family this year? Hiking is a great way to get out as a group!
- Get tips for hiking with kids to make your experience together memorable.
- For inspiration, this family set a goal to hike 100 miles with their two kids in just three months!
- What one mom learned during a year of backpacking every month.
- Read about two young Hike-a-Thoners who hiked every day for a month.
- If you want to try backpacking with your family, our Backpacking 101 for Families guide is a perfect place to get started.
Steep trails and high peaks can be exhilarating to climb, or miserable if you're not in shape for them. If you have a goal for the year that requires you to build some fitness, here are some tips for getting in shape:
- Spend some time thinking thoughtfully about how you move, or doing some conditioning.
- Use lower elevation trails as a training ground when snow is higher up. If the closest trails only offer 1,000 feet of elevation gain, consider doing them a couple times back to back to simulate a bigger climb.
- Check out our list of conditioning hikes for getting started in spring.
- Five exercises for winter sports.
However you enjoy hiking, we wish you the best this year, and hope to see you on trail!