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Families Go Hiking - Puget Sound

The goal of the “Families Go Hiking” program at Washington Trails Association is to get families in touch with resources which can get themselves on a trail as easily as possible. To help out, WTA has composed a list of resources organized by region which can ease the process of researching online for an outdoor family activity. Each region is subdivided by park type: city, county, state, and national park in each region. This helps to plan for a hike in your backyard, or a bigger weekend family expedition. Many of the links provided have family-friendly suggestions for a hike, as well as additional information, such as if the park has educational centers, scheduled events, or interpretive trails.
Families Go Hiking - Main image
Photo by Robert Crum
  • CITY PARKS
City of Tacoma

Tacoma has a great seasonal activities guide for families. The Outdoor Adventures section features planned trips for younger children (ages are listed in the guide) to get outdoors with their family.  Check the website for updated guides, and information on Northwest Trek, the popular, 723-acre park that features more than 200 species of animals.

family on a hikeCity of Seattle
Seattle is privileged to have many city parks with miles of trail. Having these parks is convenient for taking a young child outdoors simply because the wilderness is close to home and does not require a long commute which often tires young ones. These trails offer great opportunities for children to wander around, explore plants, get dirty, and afterward, get home quickly.

Many parks have an Environmental Learning Center where you can stop and see if anything is going on during the day of your visit. Check the website of the park you plan to visit to find out where their Environmental Learning Center is located. Programs for young children are Tot Trekkers (ages 2-3), the Nature Daycamp (ages 4-11), Nature Kids Preschool, and Junior Naturalists. Check out the seasonal brochure for Environmental Education classes which are held at many of these Seattle parks year 'round.

Discovery Park - 11.81 miles of trail
Discovery
Park has an Environmental Learning Center at its east entrance. Stop by to see if anything is going on the day of your visit.  

Carkeek Park - 6.06 miles of trail
The Environmental Learning Center
is located near the main entrance.

Seward Park - 5.74 miles of trail
The Seward Park Environmental & Audubon Center often hosts events for children. Check the website to schedule an event for your family or child.

Westcrest Park - 4.41 miles of trail
Westcrest is a large park with nice views of the city and has many trails for children and families to explore.

Ravenna Park - 4.50 miles of trail
Ravenna
is a wonderful park with several trails within the ravine that connects two picnic areas, one in Cowen Park, and the other in Ravenna Park. The many miles of trail and the play areas and open fields at each park are sure to keep the family busy.

Camp Long - 3.18 miles of trail
Camp
Long has a nature center and nature programs. Check into the Environmental Education brochure on their website to find when programs are held. Also, The Nature Consortium hosts an August Arts Festival at Camp Long.

boy on trail

City of Everett
Visit Everett’s Parks website  to search for all of the trails and parks near the city. This website does a good job of making it easy to find a park that will fit your family’s needs.
Everett
has two Natural Parks, Jetty Island and Johnson-Kelly Park. Jetty Island is an estuary with ideal and exciting wildlife viewing opportunities for families. The ferry is free, and accepts donations. Johnson-Kelly Park is more easily accessible and has trails to explore.

  • COUNTY PARKS

Pierce County Parks
Check their website for the seasonal county parks Activity Guide. Within this guide look in the Trips and Tours section for all sorts of outdoor seasonal youth adventures. You can find the list of parks in Pierce County and a special events section for teen and family outings.

King County Parks
The King County Parks and Recreation website is conveniently organized. Choose from parks, trails, or rentals to find an activity that interests you.
Also visit the Natural Areas and Working Resource Lands portion of their website. Here you can find somewhere to enjoy nature viewing, native vegetation, or other low-impact activities in preserved areas of King County. Several sites have hiking trails.

Snohomish County Parks
This site features a list of different trails in the county. Make sure to check the seasonal Activities Guide for scheduled youth and family activities. Among the best is the Adopt-a-Stream: Streamkeeper Academy.
North Creek Park is a wonderful place to take a walk with the family. The boardwalk has diverse plant and wildlife along with educational interpretive signs.boy with leaf

  • STATE PARKS

From the State Parks webpage you can select an area by region, or choose from a list of parks by name. There are also downloadable maps for your convenience. Each individual park page has in-depth information to help your family plan a trip.

Flaming Geyser State Park
This park is open year-round for day use and features 4.3 miles of hiking trails. The park is situated along the Green River, and there are ‘geysers’ or methane seeps which may prove interesting to inquisitive young minds.

Blake Island State Park
This year-round park offers a unique experience for a family seeking hiking and a secluded outdoors experience. The park has views of the Olympic Mountains and Seattle skyline as well as 15 miles of hiking trails. The island can be reached by tour or private boat. Also check into the Native American dancing demonstrations as well as their salmon dinners available for sale from the Tillicum Village website.

  • FEDERAL LAND
Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Mount Baker
National Forest provides many family activities within its almost two-million-acre forest.  If you plan ahead you can schedule a guided hike or snowshoeing family adventure.

 

 

 

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