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Hike and Play: Trails Near Playgrounds

If you hike with kids, you might find yourself negotiating often. If you find yourself in the position of trying to encourage some excitement about your destination, we can help. These hikes all are near playgrounds, excellent motivation for kids — and kids at heart.

If you hike with kids, you're likely familiar with negotiating during a hike. If you find yourself in the position of trying to encourage some excitement about your adventure, we can help.

These hikes all are near playgrounds meaning excellent motivation for kids. It's up to you how you structure your day.

Playground first? Playground after hike? Do what works for you! Just have fun and, when you're done, write a trip report and tell us all about it. And, let us know if we missed your favorite playground/hike combo by emailing editor@wta.org


Fairhaven Park

Location: Bellingham
Length:
3 miles of trails, with options for longer

A playground and spray park in a city park.
Fairhaven Park. City of Bellingham photo. 

Fairhaven Park is a great place for kids, with a playground and in the summer, a spray park. There’s plenty of room to run around, have a picnic or wander the nearby trails.

If you’d like to explore beyond the park itself, you can hike farther to the trails on Chuckanut Mountain. There’s also a labyrinth, which fascinates some kiddos. 

> Plan your visit to Fairhaven Park using WTA's Hiking Guide


Berthusen Park 

Location: Near Lynden
Length:
2.4 miles roundtrip

A stream flows through bare fall trees.
Berthusen Park. Photo by Tim Van Beek.

Berthusen Park offers up plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and explore. In addition to the great playground with a wonderful swing set, the park is the site of a homestead from the late 1800s. You can take a look at antique farm machinery, a historical cabin and a big red barn.

Several trails give you options for how much hiking you want to do, including old-growth and a creek. 

> Plan your visit to Berthusen Park using WTA's Hiking Guide


Rasar State Park

Location: Highway 20
Length:
3 miles, roundtrip

Grassy, mowed trail along taller grass and leafy green trees.
Rasar State Park. Photo by Milepost167.

Rasar State Park, along the Wild and Scenic Skagit River, presents a variety of trails for exploring the park’s second-growth forest, native wildlife and sandy shores along the river.

In addition to hiking, the park has a lovely campground. There are two separate playgrounds, one each in the north and south sections of the campground. 

> Plan your visit to Rasar State Park using WTA's Hiking Guide


Striped Peak

Location: near Port Angeles
Length: 7.5 miles, roundtrip

Panoramic view of forest stretching down to the saltwater beach.
Striped Peak. Photo by Christina Buckman.

Striped Peak is in Salt Creek Recreation Area, which could easily offer a whole day — or weekend — of entertainment. The playground, which is designed for kids about 5-12 years old, is just a short distance from the trailhead. It’s also surrounded by lots of open grassy areas for playing for all ages.

The trail has some areas with steep drops, so keep little kids close. If you want to make the trail a shorter trip, at about a mile from the trailhead, you can turn down to visit a sweet little cove. Just be sure to visit at low tide. 

> Plan your visit to Striped Peak using WTA's Hiking Guide


Ebey Waterfront Trail 

Location: Marysville
Length: 3.2 miles, roundtrip

A child on a bike on a paved trail near a river.
Ebey Waterfont Trail. Photo by zaranth.

Ebey Waterfront Trail is a paved, ADA-trail along the Snohomish River in Marysville. A playground with various climbing and spinning toys is right at trailhead parking lot, near the public restrooms.

The trail is kid-friendly, and works well for bikes, scooters and strollers as well as just walking. This is a good place to watch for birds or other wildlife. 

> Plan your visit to Ebey Waterfront Trail using WTA's Hiking Guide


Forest Park

Location: Everett
Length: 4.9 miles of trails

Playground with green play surface.
Forest Park. City of Everett photo. 

The newly updated and accessible playground is going to be the star at Forest Park. So if you plans for hiking, depending upon your kids, you might want to do it before they see the playground. Trails wind around the wooded areas of Forest Park.

It’s a great place to just wander. And, when you’re ready, go visit the playground. In the summer, there’s also a spray park. Beware it can get a bit windy, so bring a warm layer and a towel if your kids like the water. 

> Plan your visit to Forest Park in Everett using WTA's Hiking Guide


Sammamish River Trail 

Location: Runs from Redmond to Bothell
Length: 11 miles, one way

A river view among leafy trees.

The Sammamish River Trail is a paved trail that’s popular with walkers, runners, bikers and more. It’s a great way to get outside with kids of all ages. And it has the benefit of a number of playgrounds along the way.

You can find playgrounds at Bothell Landing, Blyth Park in Bothell, Wilmot Gateway Park in Woodinville and Marymoor Park in Redmond

> Plan your visit to Sammamish River Trail using WTA's Hiking Guide


Carkeek Park 

Location: Northwest Seattle
Length: 3.5 miles of trails, with plenty of options for loops

An adult walking on a boardwalk with a toddler on their back in a backpack.
Carkeek Park. Photo by Rayan.

Carkeek Park offers a variety of activities for getting outside with your kids. Trails wind all through the park, offering options for short or long trips. (Get a Carkeek Park map online to help you out.) You can enjoy the views to the Olympics and wander down to the beach for some more playtime.

The playground is nestled up against trees and has fun play structures, including a giant salmon. And, speaking of salmon, if you visit in the fall you can see salmon returning to spawn. 

> Plan your visit to Carkeek Park using WTA's Hiking Guide


Seward Park

Location: near Seattle
Length:
Up to 2.4 miles

A toddler on a swing, being balanced by an adult.

Seward Park is a gorgeous park, right on Lake Washington. The playground offers beautiful views of the water, and chances for kids to climb, slide and explore.

There are different options for trails around the park, some paved and some that are dirt and wander deeper into the woods. You can learn more about the wildlife and plants in the park by stopping by the Seward Park Environment & Audubon Center. 

> Plan your visit to Seward Park using WTA's Hiking Guide


Seahurst Park

Location: Burien
Length:
3.5 miles of trails

A saltwater beach with blue water, and leafy trees at the edge of the sand.
Seahurst Park. Photo by Luffles.

Right on the water, this playground at Seahurst  is fun for kids and beautiful for parents. And, for hiking, you have plenty of options with trails that meander through the nearby forest.

In spring, the greenery along the trails is especially stunning. Bring binoculars or a bird guide and can an eye out for what you can see, either on the trails or on the water. 

> Plan your visit to Seahurt Park using WTA's Hiking Guide


Saltwater State Park

Location: Des Moines
Length:
2 miles of trails

A person standing on a patch of sand next to the saltwater.
Saltwater State Park. Photo by ejain.

This is a popular destination, and for obvious reason. You can enjoy the sandy beaches or wander through the shady trails. There’s even a nearby campground. During the summer months, a concession stand is also open.

The playground is near the water, with a slide and climbing toys. Picnic tables are conveniently nearby, so you can easily include a picnic with your trip. 

> Plan your visit to Saltwater State Park using WTA's Hiking Guide


Frye Cove County Park

Location: Olympia
Length:
1.25 miles

A bench next to a trail winding through tree trunks.
Frye Cove County Park. Photo by Angie Regensburg.

Frye Cove County Park is right on the water, with 1,400 feet of beach. There’s a nice little loop trail that wraps around the perimeter of the park, with some options to explore more on side trails. In addition to the playground, there are also picnic tables and plenty of grass to run around in, making for a family-friendly destination.

> Plan your visit Frye Cove County Park to using WTA's Hiking Guide


Blandford Canyon

Location: Vancouver
Length:
0.9 miles of trails

A green leafy forest, with a person wearing a green hard hat in the corner.
Blandford Canyon. Photo by Aaron Bredl.

Blandford Canyon is a short, peaceful little hike in a surprisingly secluded area. To add on to your trip, visit DuBois Park on the east side of the canyon. Connecting trails will lead you there.

The newly remodeled playground has several slides and fun climbing structures. If you need even more, you could take a short walk and visit the playground at South Cliff Park — just be careful crossing N. Blandford Drive. 

> Plan your visit to Blandford Canyon using WTA's Hiking Guide


Lacamas Park

Location: Camas
Length:
4.5 miles, roundtrip

A shallow stream amid leafy green trees.
Lacamas Park. Photo by hnwood.

Lacamas Park is a diverse natural area with a wild feel for a park this close to town. Picnic by the lake, check out the Camas meadow in bloom, or explore the forest and creeks along the many trails. Or, of course, you could simply hangout at the playground in Lacamas Park.

If you do want to hike, interconnected trails in the area give you plenty of options. 

> Plan your visit to Lacamas Park using WTA's Hiking Guide


Battle Ground Lake State Park

Location: Battle Ground
Length:
1 mile (with plenty of options to add on)

An adult and child playing on a playground.
Battle Ground Lake State Park. Photo by Ryan Ojerio.

Whether you start at the lake or the playground, you’ll have something to entertain the kids. A collection of trails runs through the park, including one that encircles the lake.

The playground isn’t far from the lake and the campsites. While you’re exploring, you can discuss whether or not it’s likely that an ancient creature lives in the lake — the locals might be willing to tell you about it.

> Plan your visit to Battle Ground Lake State Park using WTA's Hiking Guide


Lake Chelan State Park

Location: Chelan
Length:
2.3 miles roundtrip

An adult with a child on their back in pack, next to a sign that reads "Little Bear Trail.
Lake Chelan State Park. Photo by jamestm.

When your kids get tired of playing the lake, you can set them free on the lovely playground at Lake Chelan State Park. In addition to lake access, the park offers camping and, of course, hiking. There’s a trail along the lake and through the pine forest, with loop options.

It’s a good place to explore with kids, you can choose to make your trip longer or shorter depending upon how you’re feeling.  

> Plan your visit to Lake Chelan State Park using WTA's Hiking Guide


Yakima Greenway

Location: Yakima
Length:
10 miles

Hills reflecting on a calm river at dusk..
Yakima Greenway. Photo by demonstrate.

The Yakima Greenway, which stretches for 10 miles, is a paved trail that’s perfect for a short walk or a picnic with the kids to a run or an all-day hike.

A highlight for kids is the rebuilt playground at Sarg Hubbard Park, with slides and climbing equipment.  (The play equipment was damaged by a fire in 2020.)

> Plan your visit to Yakima Greenway using WTA's Hiking Guide


Dishman Hills – Enchanted Ravine

Location: Spokane 
Length:
1.0 mile

Pink flowers growing on a hill.
Dishman Hills — Enchanted Ravine. Photo by Holly Weiler. 

Dishman Hills offers a large network of interconnected trails. If you’d like to hike and play, you can look for any of the trails that start at Camp Caro, which has a playground nearby.

The Enchanted Ravine trail is a short hike, with interesting towering rocks to observe. Just remind your littles that this is a natural area, and all flowers, mushrooms and other fascinations need to be left where they area. 

> Plan your visit to Dishman Hills using WTA's Hiking Guide


Liberty Lake Regional Park 

Location: East of Spokane
Length:
8.4 miles, roundtrip (with options for shorter loops)

Small white, yellow and purple flowers growing by a trail.

Liberty Lake Regional Park is an excellent spot to visit, in summer particular. Although note that there is a $2 entry fee during the summer. There’s a playground, and a swimming area with a lifeguard.

There are also, of course, trails. You can explore the whole lake if you want, of just head out for a shorter exploration. 

> Plan your visit to Liberty Lake Regional Park using WTA's Hiking Guide