Snohomish County, often referred to as Seattle’s North Country, is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Snohomish comprises four distinct regions: two mountainous river valleys, a coastal community, and an urban “basecamp” that provides a jumping-off point for Pacific Northwest exploration. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a life full of weekly adventures with nature.
And as you may already know, just a small dose of nature can do wonders especially during this year of lockdowns and social distancing. Studies show a quick trip outdoors can boost your mood with just 10 minutes of exposure to nature, two to three times per week, giving you huge mental-restoration benefits. And short nature timeouts can happen right here in the green spaces in our Snohomish County backyard. The mental restoration has never been more important than during this time of COVID. The Mayo Clinic even list these as low-risk outdoor activities during the pandemic:
- Walking, running, and hiking
- Rollerblading and biking
- Fishing and hunting
- Kayaking, boating, and sailing
- Fitness classes (held outside, that allow distance)
All these activities can be enjoyed right here in the Snohomish County Parks system, with the proper measures applied, of course. The park system is incredibly diverse and includes almost 11,000 acres of parks and open space; over 110 park properties; hundreds of miles of trails and access to fresh and saltwater shorelines. So, without further ado, here are our favorite open spaces for your family to explore.
First on our list is Kayak Point Park. It is a lovely saltwater beach park located along the shores of picturesque Port Susan north of Everett. This park offers a rich setting for pier fishing, windsurfing, picnicking, hiking, camping (including yurts), and boat launching. There is a short trail system between the upland camping area and the beach. Don't expect too long of a hike, but this is a great location for family outings by the shore or an easy night of camping.
Next on our list is Lord Hill Regional Park. This park offers miles of scenic, well-groomed trails full of dense forests and abundant wildlife. It is not too far from major cities and can be accessed throughout the year regardless of weather conditions. The forests on Lord Hill are composed of a variety of vegetation including western red cedar and grand firs. The wildlife on Lord Hill come in all shapes and sizes, from small shrews to the occasional bobcat sightings in the area. It is easy to spend an entire day in this park hiking the trails, reaching the various highpoints and low points, and a person can easily reach thousands of feet of cumulative elevation gain when hiking throughout the area. The most scenic viewpoint on Lord Hill is a rocky outcropping in the middle of the park, at an estimated 630' elevation.
For the camping aficionados, Flowing Lake Park is highly popular among the Snohomish County parks camping locations. It offers water access, a swimming beach, and two public access points with boat launches. It also offers day amenities with short hiking trails and gorgeous natural scenery. Flowing Lake offers more recreational opportunities than most Snohomish County parks that it is one of the few parks in Snohomish County that allows for motorized watercraft and water skiing. . Snohomish County's Flowing Park at Leckie's Beach is located on the north end of the lake and has campsites, cabins, a swimming beach, a fishing dock, an amphitheater, and picnic locations.
For the kiddos in your life. The newly-opened Mill Creek’s North Pointe playground is the hot new adventure spot to check out. Nature is at the heart of the playscape, where kids will find a wooden bridge to cross, a playful beaver den to explore and scale using, and plenty of swings. The parkour structure is another hit that will give kids space to leap, jump, and roll. Finally, the paved walkway that encloses the park makes it a great option for scooters, trikes, and balance bike riders of all ages.
Another family favorite is the Willis D. Tucker Community Park. This park is home to one of Snohomish County's most popular off-leash dog parks. Nearly 11 acres, there are several off-leash areas for you and your four-legged family members to enjoy. If your pet is shy or easily intimidated by large dogs, there is even a smaller enclosed off-leash area designated just for them. There are also plenty of options for your two-legged family members as well. Willis Tucker Community Park is an overall forested 84-acre site that includes a playground, spray pad, and amphitheater, to just name a few amenities.
Other family great exercise options are the Centennial and Interurban Trails. These trails are enormously popular recreational trails for walking, bicycling, hiking, and horseback riding accessible to persons of all levels of physical ability. These 54-mile linear parks have become one of the most valued and well-used assets in the 10,800+ acre system. The Interurban rail-trail is a 10- to12-foot-wide paved path that travels through parks and greenbelt settings.
Remember to research the park and public land you plan to travel to before you go. As of the publish date of this blog, most Snohomish County Parks are open. Amenities at opened parks may be limited and social distancing requirements remain in effect at all times. When parks reach capacity, vehicle and pedestrian traffic may be turned away. Check their updates frequently to see if restrictions have changed. The Snohomish County Parks and Recreation site is a great resource. And as always recommended, do not use parks or open spaces if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
And while you’re out and about in Snohomish County, remember to book a cleaning service appointment for your home from Rain City Maids. Come back to a clean and fresh home after escaping it for a day or two during a long run, a campaign trip, hiking in the mountains, or fishing in the Sound or in a lake.