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Resources to Accessing the Great Outdoors of Washington State

Resources to Accessing the Great Outdoors of Washington State

August 31, 2023

If you joined our recent Nourish and Flourish webinar, then you know there are plenty of options for getting out and getting active in the great PNW! Below are some organizations and resources you can use- 

  1. The Mountaineers

Who: 15,000 members in the Pacific Northwest, the Mountaineers hosts hundreds of monthly courses and activities – all led by volunteers – to offer ways to get outside and connect with others in the natural world.

What: Everything from learning to hike, sail, kayak, and scale technical mountain peaks

Where: While their main program center is in Seattle, they have branches in Bellingham, Everett, Foothills, Kitsap, Tacoma, and Olympia.




Who: Membership is open to The Boeing Company employees, family, and retirees.

What: Primarily a climbing club, many members are active in cross-country and back-country skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities.

Where: Courses are frequently held at the Boeing Fitness Center in Renton, Washington.



  1. Mazamas

Who: With members ranging from ages 4-104, the Mazamas are open to everyone!

What: Offering 250 hikes and 180 climbs annually and a variety of classes and activities for every skill and fitness level, the Mazamas promote climbing, responsible recreation, and conservation values through outdoor education, advocacy, and outreach.

Where: The Mazama Mountaineering Center is located in Portland, Oregon.



  1. Outward Bound

Who: An international network of outdoor education organizations.

What: Offering challenging learning expeditions in remote wilderness settings as well as shorter courses closer to home.

Where: 10 schools nationwide, with the Northwest school in Portland, Oregon.



  1. Meetup

Who: Anyone with a common interest!

What: A social media platform for hosting and organizing in-person and virtual activities, gatherings, and events for people and communities of similar interests, hobbies, and professions.

Where: Just about any- and everywhere.



  1. Washington Trails Association

Who: Washington Trails Association (“WTA”) mobilizes hikers and everyone who loves the outdoors to explore, steward, and champion trails and public lands.

What: A massive database of just about every hike that Washington State has to offer!

Where: Online, at – more information below!


  1. Cascade Bicycle Club

Who: The Nation’s largest statewide bicycling nonprofit, serving bike riders of all ages, races, genders, income levels, and abilities throughout the state of Washington.

What: Teaches the joy of bicycling, advocates for safe places to ride, and produces world-class rides and events – such as the Seattle-to-Portland annual bike ride!

Where: Just north of Magnuson Park in Seattle, Washington.



  1. Turns All Year

Who: An online community of ski, split- and snowboard enthusiasts who live for backcountry powder – whether that’s in January or August.

What: Community members can submit or read trip reports, check whether and avalanche conditions, and network with one another for their next big adventure.

Where: Anywhere there are backcountry turns to be had, but with an emphasis on the Cascade Range of Washington and Oregon.



  1. Outdoors for All

Who: A national leader in delivering adaptive and therapeutic recreation for children and adults with disabilities.

What: Each year, more than 3,000 individuals take part in everything the outdoors has to offer – from hiking to downhill skiing and rock climbing!

Where: Located just north of Magnuson Park in Seattle, Washington.



  1. Unlikely Hikers

Who: An intentional community of hikers looking to create safer, supportive, intentional, body-liberating outdoor experiences for hikers who might not feel welcome or comfortable in general outdoor group scenarios.

What: Slow-paced group hikes to create the most welcoming space possible as well as a network of support around what it truly means to build community outside.

Where: Hikes in and around the United States, with a tilt towards Washington and Oregon.



Getting Outdoors with Limited Mobility

If you or a loved one are looking to get outside but struggling to find a trail that is ADA-accessible or wheelchair friendly, it can feel overwhelming. Jenny Schmitz, who runs the blog put together some helpful tips on what to look for:

  1. Barrier-free access to the trail (no gates or barriers at the trailhead)
  2. Trail width of at least 30 inches
  3. Trails free of tripping hazards and blockages (free from roots, rocks, trees, steps, and transitions)
  4. Firm, level surface on the trail and in the parking lot
  5. Minimal Slope
  6. Designated accessible parking near the trailhead
  7. Accessible restrooms
  8. Benches along the route to allow for rest stops

That led to the following list:

Researching a Hike Through Washington Trails Association

  1. Go to
  2. From the “Go Outside” dropdown, select “Hike Finder Map”
  3. From the “Trail Features & Ratings” dropdown, select the criteria that’s of interest to you (wildflowers, dogs allowed, kid friendly, etc.)
  4. From the “Mileage & Elevation” dropdown, select the mileage, elevation, and highest point that are of interest
  5. Scroll to the are that you wish to hike. The image below was based on wildflower/meadow hikes, with dogs allowed, that are kid friendly, have a maximum distance of 3 miles, and no more than 500 feet of elevation gain in the Snoqualmie area. This brings up two pins:
  6. Clicking on the pins brings up the pin on the right opens up the page for Creekside Loop
  7. Scrolling through the page will bring me to general information about the hike, what parking pass or entry fee is required, directions on how to get there, and any recent trip reports that other hikers have provided.

    Forest Pass? Discovery Pass? National Parks Pass?

    Many, if not most, hikes around the state will require one of the following. They can sometimes be purchased at the trailhead either as a day pass or annual pass, may also be purchased at select retailers, such as REI, or online.

    National Parks Pass

    This will cover the owner and all occupants in the vehicle at lands managed by the National Park Service and US Fish & Wildlife Service.

    Entrance Fee: $30/car, $15/person to walk-in or bike-in, $25/motorcycle

    Annual Pass: $55

    In addition, you may also purchase an “America the Beautiful” pass, which provides entrance to any national park, national forest, or other federal site that charges fees.

    Annual Pass: $80

    Note! Special discounts are offered for seniors, veterans, those with medically determined permanent disability, or students in the 4th grade (or home-school equivalent)!

    Northwest Forest Pass

    This covers National Forest trailheads in Washington or Oregon – a fairly broad area that includes most trailheads in the Cascades and Olympics!

    Day Pass: $5

    Annual Pass: $30

    Discover Pass

    This covers Washington State Parks, Department of National Resources lands, and Department of Fish and Wildlife trailheads.

    Day Pass: $10

    Annual Pass: $30