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Terrace Creek Park

Puget Sound and Islands > Seattle-Tacoma Area
47.7874, -122.2980 Map & Directions
Length
2.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
80 feet
Highest Point
440 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Easy
Heading into forested area. Photo by Quantum Guru. Full-size image

Hike a green, forested trail for a mile or so along tiny Lyon Creek in Mountlake Terrace. In season, enjoy a variety of wildflowers or, later in the year, some fall colors. Be alert for squirrels and for a variety of birds. As a hike, it's very easy and relaxing. For a more dynamic experience, put on your trail runners and jog the entire way. Continue reading

  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Wildlife
  • Good for kids
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
Rating
4.00 out of 5

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Hiking Terrace Creek Park

This 60 acre park in Mountlake Terrace - sometimes referred to locally as Candy Cane Park - includes a mile of Lyon Creek as it flows through a mixed deciduous-coniferous forest. The stream does qualify as a small creek during the wet season, and it eventually flows into Lake Washington. But in late spring the creek may be reduced to a trickle, and at the end of a long summer it could be almost dry.

The trail, initially a concrete sidewalk, passes the playground and picnic area, then splits and circles around both sides of a large open grassy area. The branches rejoin up ahead, and as you continue on into the forested area the ongoing trail surface is varied and sometimes more rustic. Here and there along the way you might encounter a short muddy section.


Initially, a few odd-looking, heavy-duty chain baskets appear suspended on six-foot posts near the trail. These are intended for players who have graduated from Frisbee tossing to the more exacting sport of disc golf. Some baskets are located here, and others are in a park area across 48th Ave W. Depending on when you do your hike, you might see a few golfers in action.

There are a number of side trails along the way. Two or three seem official and lead out to side streets, while others - best avoided - are probably just social trails. There are no trail signs here to help you with route finding, so if in doubt just stay on the wide main trail. It's easy to follow and has only one kink where it heads first left, then right. It's a gentle uphill grade all the way.

It's quite pleasant as a forested urban hike, and you will be under the forest canopy most of the way. In spring, a profusion of buttercups often line both sides of the trail, interspersed with youth-on-age, fringe cup and blossoms of wild berries. A bit farther along, in April or May, you may find a lot of false lily of the valley ("snakeberry") in bloom, plus avens, bleeding heart and skunk cabbage. Wildflower fanciers will, no doubt, identify a few others.

You almost certainly will see a few squirrels, and it's not unusual to see a bunny. The loud taps of woodpeckers are common here, and interludes of birdsong are frequent. You may be able to sight and identify some of the small birds -- if you are a bird fancier, bring your binoculars.

The park officially ends in about a mile, when you reach 221 St SW. But the trail and ravine continue on across the street for another 400 feet or so. You can explore this extension if you like. The ravine becomes shallower and neighboring backyards closer, and the trail itself comes to an abrupt end when you step onto the concrete at 49th Pl W. If you haven't turned around already, you will need to do so here and return to the trailhead the way you came.

For a map that actually shows the park trails, your best bet may be to go to maps.google.com and search for the park address of 23200 48th Ave W, Mountlake Terrace, WA.

Hike Description Written by
Alan Gibbs, WTA Correspondent

Terrace Creek Park

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.7874, -122.2980 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From I-5 in Mountlake Terrace, a few miles north of Seattle, take Exit 179 and head east on 236th St SW. Turn left on 48th Ave W then, in about 500 feet, turn left again into the small parking lot next to a playground and picnic area. There is room for about nine cars in the lot. Considerable additional parking is available along both sides of 48th Ave W. A portable toilet is available next to the playground.

The park is open daily from dawn until dusk.

take transit

This trailhead is accessible by bus! Plan your visit by bus using TOTAGO.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Puget Sound and Islands > Seattle-Tacoma Area

City of Mountlake Terrace

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Terrace Creek Park

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