Easy, Medium and Challenging Hikes for PNW Families this Summer

 Yesterday I sat down over coffee with a group of women with school-aged kids. The group is called MomsNext, which basically means it’s the next step up from MOPS.  

I’d been asked to speak about getting outside with our families and so I started by sharing my own personal journey and how I grew up on 11 acres in a log house my parents built. As a kid being outside wasn’t something we had to plan, it was a huge part of our natural life.

Now that the world has changed, most of us need to intentionally plan that time where we get outside. Here are a few reasons why we need to make sure our families are getting out:

  • Health- for 100 reasons, being outside is healthy.
  • Creativity- it boosts our creativity and our kids’ creativity, too.
  • Sleep- when you spend time outside everyone sleeps better!
  • Attitude- feeling down? Annoyed? Grumpy? Sad? Go outside and walk it out!
  • It’s great for people who are overstimulated easily.
  • Confidence- doing challenging things as a family or with friends builds confidence!
  • Imagination- Watch your kids imaginations run wild!
  • Develop healthy habits for the future. What we do with our kids now greatly affects who they’ll be when they grow older. We get to develop what their “normal” is and spending time being active outdoors is a great lifetime habit!

Here are the hike ideas I gave the MomsNext group. Since the group is Stanwood based, these are mostly in that area:

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”- Anne Frank

For directions and location information, simply google each hike idea below.


Cranberry Lake, Camano Island- Flat, 1.4 miles round trip

English Boom, Camano Island- Flat 1.5 miles round trip

Iverson Loop, Camano Island-  Flat and less than 2 miles

Padilla Bay Reserve- Flat- 4.5 miles (bike friendly)

Whistle Lake, Anacortes- mostly flat 3.5 miles

Squires Lake, just south of Bellingham- mostly flat 2 miles


Fragrance Lake- 5.5 miles, 950 ft. elevation gain

Pine and Cedar Lakes- 5 miles, 1400 elevation gain

Heather Lake- 4.6 miles, 1034 elevation gain

Boulder River Falls, 8.6 miles 700 ft

Goat Lake- 10.4 miles, 1400 elevation gain

Wallace Falls- 5.6 miles, 1300 elevation gain


Oyster Dome- 5.3 miles, 2035 elevation gain

Mount Pilchuck- 5 miles, 2200 elevation gain

While preparing for this talk, I asked on Instagram if any of the moms had some advice to share with the ladies. Gosh you gals are awesome. Here’s what a few of you said:

juliannanorth_Disclaimer: Not a momma! I love seeing families outside, teaching their kids how to co-exist with the world around them, to look and not touch somethings and to poke and pride other things, to throw rocks in the water but to be careful to throw rocks other places. Seeing it gives me hope that I can do it someday! All of you momma’s doing it now, are teaching people that you don’t even know! 🌿

shawnauwNothing resets a child’s mood and settles their spirit like being in the outdoors! My youngest (my spitfire!) needs it so much we signed her up for outdoor preschool. Outside, exploring and adventuring, rain or shine. She loves it! It’s something she looks forward to and asks about daily. My advice would be to find some raggedy old hand me downs, take the wee ones outside, and let them go crazy! Nothing better than a tired out, sleepy kiddo at bedtime, right? 😋😘

alexiswilliamson_famIn nature, sometimes we receive our greatest gifts. There’s something about the beauty and the physical work, the benefits are like you just came off a mini meditation retreat. Nature for kids is their greatest playground. It’s where self confidence buds and dreams are let loose!!!! I’m obsessed with all things nature. You’re gonna rock it mama!! 😘

freshouttakesMy advice…just start, with anything, any trail. Don’t let the word “hike” intimidate you. We started by filling a backpack (a school backpack…not a cool hiking backpack) with the food the kids would want, good shoes, and just went for it. Consult the wta.org website under hike finder and select kid-friendly. Sometimes those “hikes” really are just a walk in the woods. And what kiddo doesn’t love that? Bring bribery items if you can. I always picked a hike that had a waterfall or lake at the end so there was something to look forward to, something that kept them interested. Just have fun! 🌿

For more hike ideas and inspiration for getting out with your families, feel free to message me or visit the NW Healthy Mama Facebook page or Instagram.

Here’s to time with family, a good challenge and a healthy lifestyle!

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About Angela Strand

Angela is a wife, mama to three little ones and a lifelong Washington State resident. Besides facilitating the NW Healthy Mama website, she loves being involved in her kids' school, hiking with her girlfriends, growing all the things, writing, reading and taking photos.

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