2013 Poo Poo Point TopWhile the phrase “go take a hike” is usually meant to tell someone to go away, around Seattle/Tacoma, that phrase can literally mean go and have a great time!  Connie and I have been hiking, running and racing the area trails for the last 12 years and we still have a great number of trails and peaks to check out.  We are truly blessed to live in a place with such amazing mountains, lakes and forests to hike in and around.  There are so many places that it is probably hard to decide where to go, especially if you have kids to bring a long.  That’s a whole trick in itself.  In general, the hikes best for kids are not too long, not to steep and have a substantial payoff at the turnaround or top.

I’ve picked out 5 local hikes that can all be done in a morning and are generally kid friendly (I’ve seen lot’s of kids on the trail anyway!).  Some tips to help make any hike fun and successful are: 1) go as early as possible, many trailheads have limited parking and you can spend more time on the trail! 2) take a small pack with enough cold water to keep everyone happy, 3) also bring some good snacks or lunch to eat at the top/turnaround, 4) Bring your camera/phone to take some shots of the family in action, and 5) Bring a map so you know how far you have to go and can adjust your plans if something happens.

1) An old favorite of mine is Discovery Park in Seattle.  The park has many miles of level and slight grade trails with a long trail that heads down to the beach where many hours of beach combing awaits, as well as a light house.  The park has a playground, a nature center, views of the Sound, and lots of parking.

2) Pt Defiance Park in Tacoma is an amazing park with miles of easy trails to hike and run, a large parking area close to the water, spectacular views across the Sound, a Zoo, some Go-Karts and an Ornamental Rose park ( maybe not the kids favorite!).  A real gem of a park with lots to do, so plan to go back more than once!

3) Rattlesnake Ledges hike is the first a must do hike for the whole family.  Pick a day with clear skies and go early to give yourself lots of time on the ledges.  Just take I-90 east to exit 32 and head south on 468th for about t3.5 miles to big parking area.  The trail has been completely revamped and well maintained.  It’s only about 2 miles to the Ledges area (the actual trail continues all the way across Rattlesnake Ridge, about 11 miles!) and the views from the Ledges are unmatched.  This is a popular hike so going early is recommended.

4)Poo Poo Point via the Chirico Trail is another must do hike – especially on a clear day. Also about 2 miles to the top, the trail is a little steeper than the Ledges trail, especially in the first half mile.  Do not be deterred, the pay off at the top is well worth it.  On your way up, there are some clearings that open up towards the Olympics and just before you reach the top, there is a large clearing with an unobstructed view of Mt Rainier. Perfect for those family adventure pictures.  A short hike up the rest of the hill and you have the amazing views to the north from Poo Poo Point.  On ice weekends you get the added bonus of seeing paragliders taking off and flying around Poo Poo Point – very cool!

5) Little Mt Si – While most people know about Mt Si, there is also a shorter but just as scenic hike you do to little Mt Si – the smaller peak at the base of Mt Si.  Much shorter and lower in total elevation than going all the way up to the top of Si, this hike is still a good work out and affords tremendous views to the west.  You may even see some rock climbers practicing their craft on along the way up.  The trailhead parking for Little Si is on the same road as Big Si, and requires a Discover Pass to park there.  It is also popular so going early is your best bet.

There will be many beautify days coming this summer so get up and get out to check out some of the great local hikes!