Conditioning Hiking Series - Olympia - 2024

Day Hiking Course

Conditioning Hiking Series

This course offers participants the chance to improve their fitness level throughout the duration of the course and reach new distance and elevation goals. Beginning in April 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 hiker who wants to improve their fitness level and challenge themselves by working up to day hikes of twelve+ miles in September after early hikes of four to seven miles in April. 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 includes the opportunity to build friendships by hiking with many of the same people throughout the summer. Participants are expected to build physical fitness and dedicate time outside of the course to improving their conditioning.  

Graduation Requirements: CHS kicks off in March and consists of a mandatory Orientation (for new participants), 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 or similar stewardship activity, and a  Low Impact Recreation badge by completing an online course. 

Where and When?: 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 Issaquah Alps. Our goal is to offer hikes on each weekend day of the month as well as occasional weekday offerings for those with flexible schedules. 

How far? How high? How fast?: Offered hikes will range between 4-12 miles round trip, with cumulative gain of 0-4,000'. Pacing will vary between 1.5 and 3.0 miles per hour, depending on conditions. The hike leaders will post their target pace range for each hike, and you're encouraged to contact them if you have concerns. Don't know your pace? We'll have some suggestions for calculating it. We also encourage participants to try a variety of pace ranges in April and May, but focus on one that suits your ability and stick with it from June through graduation. 

Active Membership Required: 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.

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