The sun is starting to shine a little more, our kids are spending more time outside and spring break is approaching. It’s time to start planning some family friendly hikes! Many of us here on NW Healthy Mama are raising beginning hikers…those sweet little ones with the get-up-and-go, that doesn’t last for too many miles. Here are some fun hike ideas for the shorter legs in your family, or maybe for adults who are wanting to start small, as they get into better hiking shape. Spring is here! It’s time to get outside and enjoy where we live!
1. Skagit Wildlife Area– Conway/Fir Island area, 2 miles roundtrip
This gorgeous trail is great for kids, is stroller friendly and is a bird watchers paradise! The Skagit Wildlife Area has numerous access points that allow you to walk dikes along the shore of Skagit Bay. Do keep in mind that October through January is hunting season, and it is best to avoid visiting during that time.2. Cranberry Lake- Camano Island, 1.5 miles roundtrip
3. Squires Lake– Bellingham area, 2 miles roundtrip
This short loop trail around a quiet lake is a great place to enjoy an after-work outdoor stroll or take the kids on an easy outdoor excursion.
From the trailhead, the route makes a quick, moderate climb for 0.3 mile before easing and offering a look at tree-ringed Squires Lake.
4. Boardman Lake– Mountain Loop Highway, 2 miles roundtrip
The hike to big, beautiful Boardman Lake is one of the easiest off of the Mountain Loop Highway. Just under a mile and gaining a mere 250 feet of elevation along the way (and 50 on the way back), this lovely backcountry body of water can be reached by just about every hiker-young and old, long-legged and short-breathed, and everyone else in between.5. Old Robe Canyon, Mountain Loop Highway, 2.4 miles roundtrip
Historically significant and naturally beautiful, the trail through Robe Canyon is a worthy hiking destination any time of year. However, be sure to click on the link and check out the WTA website for current trail conditions.
6. St. Edward State Park– Seattle/Tacoma area, 3 miles roundtrip
Hike through a diverse century-old second-growth forest with a dense canopy to the undeveloped shoreline of Lake Washington. This historic 316-acre state park, nestled in the midst of the Seattle metropolitan area, has playground facilities for children, picnic areas, trails for mountain bikers, and fields for sports teams as well.
7. Discovery Park Loop– Seattle/Tacoma area, 2.8 miles roundtrip
Discovery Park is located in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, and is the largest park in the city. Entry is free, and official hours are daily 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. The Discovery Park Loop Trail is a designated National Recreation Trail, 2.8 miles long with an elevation change of just 140 feet. It passes through both forest and open meadows, offers extensive views, good prospects for bird watchers, and can be hiked or jogged year-round.
8. Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve– Bellingham area, 2.2 miles roundtrip
Several hiking trails now exist in the Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve, part of the Whatcom County Park system, including a 2.2-mile loop. This loop includes a small footbridge that crosses Austin Creek, and a mile long viewpoint spur trail that offers a panorama of Lake Whatcom and the valley below. There are also views of two 12-foot waterfalls. Alternatively, head up and up to Lookout Mountain on an eight mile service road.
9. Sharpe Park – Montgomery – Duban Headlands, Bellingham area, 1.5 miles roundtrip
The Montgomery-Duban headlands offer a great way to explore Sharpe Park to the extreme western edge, via a primitive, rocky path. Starting out on a wide, well-graded trail, hikers can see firsthand the work of WTA trail crews in Sharpe Park. After passing a grassy picnic area, the trail becomes a raised gravelled path — a turnpike installed by WTA trail crews. This leads to a quiet beaver pond, where kids will love looking for birds and other wildlife.
10. Schmitz Preserve Park– Seattle/Tacoma area, 1.7 miles roundtrip
It’s astonishing to find, in the middle of West Seattle, as many old growth trees as you might see in a whole season of hiking at Tiger Mountain. But Schmitz Preserve Park offers exactly that! The 53.1 acre park was formed from land donated to the city between 1908 and 1912, before the area had been completely logged. The largest parcel was donated by German immigrants Ferdinand and Emma Schmitz, after whom the park is named.
There is no entry fee, and official park hours are daily, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The park offers 1.7 miles of hiking trails. Since there are no trail signs in the park you may want to print a trail map in advance. Go to www.seattle.gov/parks/search.htm, enter “Schmitz Preserve” in the search window and, when you get to the park page, click on “Hiking Trails.”
11. Young Hill and Bell Point– San Juan Island, 2 miles roundtrip
Stroll along the placid bay waters surrounding Bell Point, or peer down at them from the grassy and ledgy slopes of Young Hill. Better yet, combine these fine hikes that lie within San Juan Island National Historical Park’s English Camp.
12. Greenbank Farm, Whidbey Island, 3 miles roundtrip
Dog-friendly and entertaining for kids, this area offers stunning views of the Cascades, Olympics, and Puget Sound sparkling close at hand. Practice identifying the myriad peaks, trees, shrubs and wildlife as you enjoy the three miles of trails at Greenbank.
13. Boulder River Falls- Arlington/Oso area, 3 miles or less roundtrip (to visit the waterfalls), or continue on for a longer 8-9 mile hike.
Boulder River Falls is an easy hike perfect for kids, although there are a few areas where you might want to hold their hand. Bring a picnic and plan to stay and enjoy the falls. This place is incredible!
14. Lowell Riverfront Park Trail– Everett area, 3 miles roundtrip
15. Iceberg Point- Lopez Island, 3 miles roundtrip
A short loop hike to rock cliffs, with fantastic views out towards the Olympic Peninsula, and back toward other parts of Lopez. It is suitable for children, dogs on leash, and folks of all ages.
What are some of your favorite shorter hikes? Be sure to tag #nwhealthymama on Instagram to share pictures of your adventures!
As always, check the Washington Trail Association website for current trail conditions or call the local ranger station before heading out. Some of the text used on this page is courtesy of the WTA website. Have fun, be safe and come back and share about your experience!