Why the McLane Creek Nature Trail offers more than just nice hiking

McLane Creek Nature Trail at Capitol State Forest is more than just a great hiking trail. In fact, it’s two hiking trails: McLane Creek NT and Centennial Demonstration Forest, both nicely tucked into the same property. While the .75-mile-long Centennial DF traverses some pretty country, including a working demonstration forest, most people visit to hike the nature trail and to watch for wildlife at the beaver pond encircled by the McLane Creek trail. If you have kids, McLane Creek NT’s many boardwalks, bridges, and viewing areas should keep them entertained, engaged, and (hopefully) excited about the outdoors.

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Review: Tolmie State Park

Tolmie State Park in Olympia lets you hike, swim, and sunbath on the beach all in the same day. Tolmie encompasses some 1,800 feet of sand beach and coastline and a couple miles of inland hiking on trails that wind through old-growth forests. The main hiking trail is short at Tolmie (only a few miles long), but the scenery is pleasant and worth a trip. Also, the state park offers some great amenities, including beach access, picnicking areas and shelters, and boat moorage. The trails are short enough that you can easily bring the family to Tolmie for an afternoon or for a day at the beach and/or a hike.

Looking out towards the beach.

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The Newly Reopened Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area

I got out and explored the Woodard Bay NRCA today and finally got to hike down to the pier area. I’ve been a few times to the Upper Overlook Trail (which closes March-August) but never to the opposite side of Woodard Bay because they were previously doing repairs there. The hike is only about two miles out and back but the Loop Trail goes through some pretty forested areas. The Loop Trail and the dirt road that parallel it both end at the Chapman Bay Pier, where timber companies use to unload logs for transport up the Puget Sound until about the 1980s. Up until February of this year, the state was removing sections of the old pier and sprucing up the place. It looks beautiful and is great for picnicking and for family hikes. I added some photos of it to my post. If you do go, definitely take the Loop Trail, ideally on the way out there. The road, which is closed to all both authorized NRCA employees, is handicapped accessible. Also, you’ll need a Washington State Discover Pass to park at the trailhead.

I know I’m behind a few trail review posts but hopefully this will tide you over until next week. I started this blog as part of a class assignment and decided to keep it going because it was fun and let me share some of my hikes. That said, blogging on a regular basis is a lot of work! Hats off to those writers who keep it going without fail. Anyways, my semester ends this week so next I can catch up with posts about Mima Mounds, Hugo Peak, and the beautiful Flapjack Lakes hike I did a few weekends ago. Until then, Happy Hiking!