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9 Ways to Bring Outdoor Joy Into Your Life Right Now

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Mar 18, 2020 06:51 PM |

A list of ways to harness the joy of the outdoors even when you're stuck inside.

These are strange times. But if you're in need of an inspirational (or adorable) distraction, a way to stay connected to the hiking community, or advice on how to prep for the upcoming hiking season, we compiled a list of ways to harness the joy of the outdoors even when you're stuck inside.


Take a virtual tour of Washington's trails. Every year, we host our Northwest Exposure Photo Contest as a way to celebrate the beauty of our state and the incredible community of photographers who capture it on camera. Their photos are always a huge inspiration to us so we made a slideshow of some of our favorites to give you a much-needed dose of Washington's trailscapes:


Plan for your future of hiking. As the first crop of spring wildflowers peek out and the sun escapes from its blanket of clouds, it's hard to stay inside and put your big hiking trips on hold. But, it also frees up more time to get creative with your future plans whether that be busting out your dehydrator and prepping homemade meals, pulling out your map stash to plot one-of-a-kind loops or taking a deep dive into local flora and fauna guidebooks.


Give your gear a deep clean. You know that closet in your house you've been avoiding? The one piled high with muddy boots, salty baseball caps and backpacks filled with Cliff Bar wrappers? Now might be a great time to dig in and give your beloved gear a deep clean. Whether that be rewaterproofing rain jackets, deoderizing boots or simply reorganizing your space.

Mount Rainier during a colorful sunrise. Photo by Philip Cho.


Pick up a new book. We're in a bit of a renaissance period for travel and hiking related literature. From record breaking thru hikes to the health benefits of time outdoors  you can bet there's a book about it. If your local library is closed, look into check out options for e-books or audiobooks and get readin'.


Stay connected to each other. While it may not be possible to meet up with your regular group of hiking buddies, try to reach out digitally instead. Consider joining an online hiking group. You can also keep up with WTA on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

There are plenty of trail-centric books to pick up for a read. Photo by Ashley Gossens.


Catch some rays. Breathing in fresh air and feeling the sun on your skin is bound to help lift your mood. If you have a nearby greenspace, consider going for a short stroll or just taking in the green view. Can't get outside? Head to your nearest south-facing window, throw it open, and take some deep breaths. 


Train your pup with some helpful hiking commands. If you've found yourself with a lot of 1:1 time with your dog lately, you're not alone. If you aren't able to get your dog out on trail, try using that time inside to train them with some trail-friendly commands.


Watch a wildlife cam from our National Parks. Did you know several parks stream footage of their active and abundant wildlife all year long? If you need some fuzzy bear faces in your life right now, do check them out.

Adorable bear being adorable. Photo by Hector Marquez Garcia.


Remember how awesome the hiking community is. During the best of times or the worst of times, we think hikers area a force for good. We're impressed and inspired by the creativity, resourcefulness and helpful spirit found throughout the hiking community  whether you are writing a trip report, returning a lost boot, or bringing trail magic to a stranger. Remember, we're all in this together.