Conditioning Hiking Series - Olympia - 2022

Day Hiking Course

Conditioning Hiking Series

This course offers participants the chance to improve their fitness level and hike with many of the same people throughout the duration of the course and reach new distance and elevation goals. Beginning in March and running through September, the course provides a structure of increasing challenges through hikes that are scheduled to bring you to new heights and places as you gain fitness.

Overview:  The Olympia Branch Conditioning Hiking Series Course (CHS) is designed for the new or experienced hiker who wants to improve their fitness level and challenge themselves by working up to day hikes of fifteen+ miles in September after early hikes of four to six miles in April. It is also designed to provide a small-group trip environment in which hikers can build friendships by hiking with many of the same people throughout the summer. Our most successful participants are those who can commit to strength and cardio activities in addition to their two hikes per month - this is a key component to successfully completing the course.  Participants are expected to build physical fitness and dedicate time outside of the course to improving their conditioning.  You should be available and committed to go on eleven hikes over the course of the summer, and enjoy hiking in a group and socializing with your fellow participants. 

CHS kicks off in March and consists of a mandatory Orientation, an optional Gear Check and pacing hike, a minimum of two CHS hikes per month building in mileage and elevation gain from April through August, and one graduation hike in September. During Orientation we will cover basic information, course guidelines and expectations. In order to graduate, participants are also required to earn a Stewardship Credit badge by completing one day of trail maintenance, and a  Low Impact Recreation badge by completing an online course. 

Where We Hike:  Our hike destinations vary depending on anticipated conditions (snow, heat, wildfire smoke, etc.) and range from the Cascades to the Olympics, from Highway 2 to the Columbia Gorge, and everywhere in between, including Mt. Rainier, Eastern Washington, the Kitsap peninsula, Mount St. Helens, and the I-90 Snoqualmie Corridor. We try to offer hikes on each weekend day of every month as well as occasional weekday offerings for those with flexible schedules. 

New for 2022: Participants will have two pacing groups to choose from: CHS 1 (1.5-2.0 mph average moving speed), and CHS 2 (2.0-3.0 mph average moving speed). If you're on the fence about which pacing group would best suit your hiking style, plan to join one of the pacing hikes on March 12 at Millersylvania State Park. We also encourage undecided participants to try both pacing groups in April and May, but ask that they select one and stick with it from June through graduation. We'll also offer several optional activities we hope you'll enjoy: a campout near Mt. Rainier in July, team participation in Washington Trails Association's Hike-a-Thon in August, and a graduation party and alumni hike in October.

Because of the total number of hikes required to graduate the course (11), it's not possible to participate as a guest member. However, needs-based scholarships are available if either the membership or course fee would be a financial burden.

COVID Considerations: CHS hike leaders will determine whether they will require participants on their hikes to be fully vaccinated. Mountaineers staff has launched an optional COVID-19 Vaccine Badge that indicates a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Leaders are able to assign the badge to their trip participants (with the participant's permission) once they've verified a member's vaccination status for a trip. Leaders of vaccination-requiring activities will then be able to check a member's vaccination status on the website without having to request their vaccination records each time. No personal information is stored in the process, and the member retains the option to opt out of getting the badge and share their vaccine information with leaders each time they sign up for a vaccine-requiring activity. We'll discuss this process in greater detail at Orientation. 

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Additional badges needed to graduate


Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun protection
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination
  5. First aid supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair kit and tools, including knife
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter
Course Materials