Today’s guest post is by Allen Cox, a Seattle-based travel writer.
Writing a hiking guidebook is a great motivation to get out there and find some new trails. When I wrote Best Easy Day Hikes Seattle and Best Easy Day Hikes Tacoma for Globe Pequot Press, I already had a handful of favorite local trails I’d visit again and again. But I needed to discover more, and fast! The only criteria from the publisher was that they had to be no farther than roughly an hour from the base city and could not be a “death march” – perfect for kids or a multi-generational hike. That suited
me fine – close and easy. Little did I know that three of my new favorite trails were awaiting discovery.
Camp Long: This urban gem in West Seattle is a fun spot for a woodsy one-plus mile hike with enough elevation gain and loss to tire the little ones (in a good way). It’s also a perfect place to break out the binoculars and field guide to introduce the kids to birding. The park has enough bird activity for Audubon to stage an annual bird count at Camp Long. It also has an interesting history as a WPA project and a Boy Scout retreat and has the oldest man-made climbing rock in North America. The old lodge at the park entrance houses an environmental education center that’s worth a stop. Check their website for organized nature walks the whole family will enjoy: www.seattlegov.parks.
Tacoma Nature Center: Tacoma Metro Parks created an interpretive center and nature trails through nearly 60 acres of woods and wetlands known as Snake Lake in the heart of the city. This easy loop follows the long, narrow lake and climbs a wooded hillside, offering enough diversity of terrain to keeps kids wondering what’s around the next corner. The fun is discovering what critters are hiding in the 60 acres – you can hear them, but can you see them?
Federation Forest State Park: This trail-laden, interpretive old-growth forest follows the White River fresh from Mt. Rainier’s Emmons Glacier. The park is both an education and an adventure. Start your hike in the Visitor Center, checking out the interpretive exhibits before hitting the trail. In the park, you’ll walk where wagon trains once rolled on the historic Naches Trail and go deep into the forest to visit the tiny inhabitants of the “Hobbit House,” in recent years extended to an entire hobbit village (you’ll know it when you see it). Kids and imaginative adults like to bring miniature gifts to furnish Hobbit House with all the trappings to make life comfortable for the little creatures. To the Hobbit House and back, expect to cover about 4.5 miles of easy trail. Also be prepared to trail-blaze around some muddy patches, so trekking poles can come in handy.
I’ve got one copy of each of Allen’s books to give away.
Leave a comment below sharing your favorite hike or trail in your neighborhood. This giveaway ends on Sunday, August 15th at 11:59pm.