Gear and Safety Tips
This can really depend on the hike, but the basics are a water bottle and decent hiking boots. Waterproof boots are the best, keeping your feet dry after stepping through puddles and mud which are common here. Remember to trim toenails, because if the toenail hits the boot repetitively while walking, it can damage it and also fungus may enter.
You may need a Discover Pass to park. They can be ordered online and a temporary pass can be printed when ordered, but there are boxes to pay in the parking lot as well.
Rain and Cold
If it’s raining or cold, things change a bit. Wearing layers is a good idea. You might be surprised at how warm you can get. If rain is possible, a good rain jacket or lightweight umbrella is helpful. You’ll also want pants that don’t soak up water. Jeans are the worst. Fleece is good or a fabric that doesn’t hold water well. Some people wear rain pants.
I love hiking alone, but play it safe and only do that if the hike is a popular one where you can get help if you need it. You’ll want to go with someone on the Cherry Creek Falls hike. The other hikes are pretty popular on nice weekends. If you’d like to hike with a group and don’t have friends who want to go, there are many hiking groups on Meetup.
Make sure you are in good health before you go. If you have any question about it, get your doctor’s okay. It can take awhile for emergency crews to get to people on a trail.
I often like to bring a snack to eat at the midpoint of a hike or during if I get hungry. Some trail mix, a bar, fruit or veggies, or a sandwich are some good options. Energy can get low and a quick snack can be just what you need to enjoy the rest of your hike.
A backpack is nice to have to store snacks, a water bottle, extra layers, keys, etc. You could also put a first aid kit in there and tissues.
It’s a good idea to check trip reports before going to a trail. These reports are done by other hikers about their recent visit and describe what the trail was like and any suggestions or warnings. After your hike, you may want to post about your own experience. One place to find trip reports is on the website for the Washington Trails Association.
I haven’t seen bears or cougars on the hikes I’ve been on, but they are out there. If you are concerned, there are websites that explain what to do if you see them. Please don't feed any wild animals. There are chipmunks at the top of Rattlesnake Ledge.
This is a plant you should know about. If it is touched, the tiny hairs will make your skin sting and burn. Rinse immediately with water and find a sword fern. There are many in this area. The brown spore pods on the underside of the fern can be rubbed against the skin to help reduce the irritation. Use a new fern leaf with each application. Benedryl or hydrocortisone lotion should also help if you have it. Stinging nettle is an amazing plant though, as people use it as a tea to reduce seasonal allergies and the leaves are edible and nutritious if they are sauteed or baked like kale chips.
**I’m not liable for any accidents due to the advice I give here. Please do your own research before hiking.