The Adventure: Ten Tiny Treks
August 4, 2015
Ever get that hiking bee in your bonnet? The all-of-a-sudden sort that sends you scrambling for your walking shoes? Then you look at the clock and it’s 3 p.m. and you’ve got the neighbor’s barbecue at 6 p.m. and… Or maybe the kids want to get out on the trail and you KNOW they aren’t going to last long. Perhaps you’re on the road and looking for a place to just stretch your legs? Maybe you’re looking for a trail where you can satisfy that outdoor urge without getting short of breath?
We get it! And we’ve got ’em—plenty of trails where you can seize the day in less than an hour! Here are 10 short hikes to try in Washington state parks. Some trails offer interpretive opportunities and others require a bit of travel to get to, just in case you’re in no hurry to get back.
10. Twin Harbors State Park — 0.5 mile trail
How about a flat, pleasant hike along a grassy shore covered in soft sand? Interpretive signs tell a short story as you cruise the Shifting Sands Trail and listen to the music of the ocean waves. Take your shoes off and dip your toes in the foaming surf. If you want to hang out longer, bring along a kite. This is one of the nicest places to fly your favorite colors in a consistent Pacific breeze!
9. Squak Mountain State Park — 0.3 mile trail
The Pretzel Tree Trail at Squak Mountain is custom-made for kids! Through interpretive signs, a field mouse hosts your short journey to the Pretzel Tree. If you feel more ambitious, take on Double Peak Loop Trail.
8. Palouse Falls State Park — 0.25 mile trail
Ahhh, a waterfall! What better way to punctuate any hike than with a 198-foot spectacular Washington State icon! This is as simple and sublime as hiking gets. Year-round, this is a not-to-be-missed destination hike. Interpretive signs describe the folklore behind the creation of the falls. Come early in the morning or just as the sun is setting, and don’t forget your camera!
7. Lewis & Clark Trail State Park — 0.8 mile trail
Lewis & Clark is a true oasis! A verdant place in the heart of the hot, dry floodplains, this park is a welcome respite if you are driving Highway 12. Meander along the mostly flat interpretive loop trail through the campground and along the banks of the Touchet River. The river is shallow and fun to wade or float in, too! Discover history here, both natural and related to Lewis & Clark’s Corps of Discovery’s journey.
6. Wenatchee Confluence State Park — 1 mile trail
This park was made for walking! Wander along the shorter, ADA-accessible interpretive trail and enjoy the sunshine and warmth! This park is close to town, making for a convenient lunchtime walk for Wenatchee workers. If you feel ambitious, keep on walking and enjoy the Apple Capital Loop Trail!
5. Bogachiel State Park — 0.5 mile trail
Washington’s scenery is diverse, and it’s tiny treks certainly reflect that. Set your sites on Bogachiel if you want to take a short–but breathtaking–hike through the Hoh Rain Forest. This temperate rainforest is believed to contain the highest living standing biomass in the world, making the vegetation here nothing short of lush. Right off Highway 101 on the banks of the Bogachiel River, this is truly a hidden gem!
4. Fort Worden Historical State Park — 1 mile trail
Take a walk into Victorian Era America’s military history! A one-mile historic walk enriches your knowledge of this former fort as you explore the old gun batteries. Kids will love this hike! So much to explore and plenty of climbing and hiding to do!
3. Jarrell Cove State Park — 1 mile trail
Just a nice, flat trail in a tucked-away corner of lovely Harstine Island. This is a fun one for kids! They can explore the riches of the South Sound’s waters in the gentle inland fjord climate. This park is a destination, and once you’ve arrived, you’ll be glad you made the trip.
2. Bottle Beach State Park — .7 mile trail
Love birdwatching? Bring your binoculars! This hike on the short trail across the sand and grasses takes you to a bird-lover’s paradise! Close to Grays Harbor, this is site is designated as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.
1. Fields Spring State Park — 1 mile trail
1. Hike 1 mile to Puffer Butte. 2. Huff and puff. 3. See for MILES! This is a wonderful hike for kids and adults alike. It takes a bit of a drive to arrive, but the surrounding country is scenic. Once you are at the top of the butte, you have a 360-degree view of of the northern end of Hells Canyon, the Wallowa Mountains and the Grand Ronde River. Bring your camera and a plant field guide. You’ll want to identify some of those gorgeous wildflowers you find at the top!