The willow wood is perfect for making hiking sticks and walking canes. Its a very recognizable tree species and is ready available in many parts of the USA. The willow trees love water and grow along rivers, streams and lakes. the last willows I collected for walk-in stick making was in Utah and Colorado. The best time to collect them is in the fall as their leaves fall so you see the limb size the best. You want to collect ones that have a diameter of around 1" to 2". Its was not a weeping willow which its branches are too thin most of the time to make a hiking stick.
The willow I collected he willow wood it had a red brown exterior which makes it a perfect wood for making a hiking stick with the skin/bark left on. When I made the willow walking stick I left sections of the outer skin/bark on and carved several trout fish on the peeled away area. Then I painted the fish and added some carved river rocks below the fish to make it look like it was swimming in a stream. The walking stick turned out great and now my father is using it when he hikes/walks.
The walking sick guides has a fall leaf bonus project using willow sapling. The walking stick and hiking stick making project has several fall leafs carved and painted. then a copper wire is added to the give the walking stick now pizzazz.