A walk through Edmonds' largest wooded open space is a pleasant forest stroll.
Length: About two to three miles of trails.
Level of difficulty: Level to moderate dirt/gravel trails.
Setting: This pretty 120-acre forested park (Edmond’s largest open space) lies in southwestern Snohomish County (hence its rather plain name). The land was once owned by Pope and Talbot, the timber company (look for signs of springboard notches in stumps; some of the paths are former skid roads). Later the land was transferred to the University of Washington and later, Snohomish County, on the condition that the land would be forever managed as a passive woodland open space.
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A general map on the park Web site shows a simple loop trail up the hill from the parking lot into the mature second-growth forest. The map at the trailhead (done as an Eagle Scout project) shows the reality of an inner loop and outer loop, connected by short legs — this smaller trail area is best for a nature walk (there’s tree/shrub interpretive markers) or for kids to roam and play hide-and-seek. There are a lot of woodpecker-pecked snags, and numerous blowdowns held up by neighboring trees attest to the strength of the winter winds on this little knoll in the midst of the Puget Sound Convergence Zone.
The longer 0.7 mile-long trail across the street from the parking lot parallels the road (but is hidden by vegetation); when it emerges again farther west along Olympic View Drive, retrace your steps, or loop back via the sidewalk. From this junction, a path also goes down the hill into the ravine if you want to explore deeper into the forest.
Restrictions: Leash and scoop laws in effect.
Directions: From Interstate 5 in Lynnwood (just south of the I-5/I-405 interchange), take Exit 181 and head west on Highway 524/Southwest 196th Street. Cross Highway 99, and turn right on 76th Avenue West. Turn left on Olympic View Drive, and just after 180th Street Southwest, turn left into the small parking lot.
For more information: 425-388-6600 or www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/Departments/Parks.
Renton-based freelancer Cathy McDonald, a former geologist, has written about science and nature travel for 20 years. She’s currently a travel guidebook editor at Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door. Contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org