Location: Edmonds. Length: About a quarter-mile tangle of trails. Level of difficulty: Gentle-to-moderate dirt trail (mucky in parts) switchbacks...
Length: About a quarter-mile tangle of trails.
Level of difficulty: Gentle-to-moderate dirt trail (mucky in parts) switchbacks down a ravine to cross over a (dry in summer) streambed; on the other side, the trail narrows and clings to the side of the hill until blocked by downed trees near old logged cedar stumps.
Setting: The lush glen is visible to the left alongside 196th Street Southwest on the way to Edmonds. Except for a brief flash of a park sign as you drive by, there’s no real clue that there’s a public park here. Once you find the entrance road on the park’s south side (see below), it’s like discovering your own little private fairy ring hidden in the forest behind a secret entrance. Swings and picnic benches on the grass-covered hills offer a place to watch small children play, while on the south side of the parking loop, a signed trail drops down into the ravine.
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Highlights: This is a bring-the-kids-for-a-scramble-in-fern-gully sort of park, slightly overgrown, with trail segments on different levels that trail off into the woods. Good-sized Douglas firs mix with a variety of other trees and shrubs, and birdsong and the rustles of squirrels mingle with the occasional whoosh of traffic on the road above.
Restrictions: Leash and scoop laws in effect; dogs allowed on trails, not on lawns. Watch out for a few nettles alongside the narrow, eroding portion of the trail.
Directions: From Interstate 5 north of Seattle, take Exit 181B northbound or Exit 181 heading south. Go west on 196th Street Southwest. After crossing Highway 99, in 1.7 miles turn left on 88th Avenue West. Take the first right, then the next right on 89th Place West, and the park road is at the end of the street.
By bus: Several Community Transit routes go by the back entrance to the park; 800-562-1375 or www.commtrans.org.
For more information: 425-771-0230 or www.ci.edmonds.wa.us.
— Cathy McDonald, Special to The Seattle Times
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