Puget Sound hiking tips for summer

From Sound Dietitians, a partner of the Verdant Health Commission. View the complete blog post and recipes from Sound Dietitians at www.sounddietitians.com/blog/bok-choy-a-vegetable-with-many-names.


Summer is upon us, and the days are long in the Puget Sound area. That means it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy a day hike. Whether you want to explore the beaches, valleys, or forests, the Puget Sound has plenty of beauty to offer.

But before you hit the trailhead, it’s important to plan ahead. Here are some tips to ensure your day hike is a safe, happy success.

man walking on trail

Plan Out Your Hike

It’s important to plan out your day hike, and to familiarize yourself with the trail before you set out. Some trails aren’t accessible year-round. So if you go too early in the season (June-July), you might encounter a snow packed trail.

It’s also important to know how long the trail will take you, and the difficulty of terrain. There are a number of day hiking books available for the Puget Sound area, but you can also check out the Washington Trails Association (WTA) website. Along with trails directions, mileage, and difficulty, you can also read any trail reports from recent hikers. Sometimes you’ll find information on current trail conditions or hazards.

It’s also a good idea to let a friend or family member know where you’re going. You can simply, send them a link to the trail on WTA, and let them know when you plan to be back. Even if you have a hiking buddy with you, which is highly recommended, it’s still a good idea to tell someone else your itinerary.

Dress Appropriately for the Weather

As the weather warms up, it’s often tempting to dawn a t-shirt, and shorts and jet off to the trailhead. But you should always bring some layers of clothes, no matter how warm it is at your home. The temperature can drop by several degrees as you increase altitude, and the conditions can quickly change. If you’re dressed for sun, and the rain moves in, you need to be prepared. ​Here are few important layers to remember:

  • Long sleeve synthetic shirt (not cotton)
  • Wind breaker
  • Raincoat or poncho
  • Warm lightweight jacket

Conversely, the sun and heat can also pose problems as well.

Here are a few hiking accessories you’ll want to remember:

  • Sunglasses
  • Brimmed Hat (to block the sun)
  • Sunscreen

When hiking in the outdoors, there are also a number of general clothing recommendations. First of all, cotton is discouraged. If it gets wet with rain or sweat, cotton does not dry quickly, which means it remains cold. Instead, it’s recommended to wear a quick drying material. REI and other athletic outfitters carry active wear shirts and clothing that will keep you comfortable on the trail.

​Also, you need to think about your feet. You’ll want boots or trail shoes with good tread to ensure secure footing. Closed toe shoes will keep your feet safe from cuts and scuffs, and if it’s wet conditions, consider a waterproof boot.


This blog post is written by Jon, a Dietetic Intern and ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist with Sound Dietitians who has a BS in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and is an MS Candidate for Fall 2019. To read more about tips for hiking and recommended beginner hikes, view the complete post at: www.sounddietitians.com/blog/puget-sound-hiking-tips-for-summer.