Here’s a wild ramble just a short drive from most of SFM territory.
It’s the Orange Gate property, 100 acres plus of woodsy wilderness that’s managed by Pierce County Parks and open to the public.
It’s primitive, which means you’ll find easy, dirt paths and homemade bike jumps, but not much else-no picnic tables, no bathroom- no parking spaces, actually. It’s at 46th and 84th in the Summit/Midland area. To get directions, Mapquest 84th ST Waller or Puyallup. We had no troubles finding it.
You’ll want to park on the shoulder (secure your valuables). We explored the area on both sides of the road, but preferred the paths right behind the concrete post thingies. The first part of the walk was dry and heavily forested. It reminded me of some of the campgrounds at Rainier. About five minutes in, you’ll come to an actual gravel road. Cross that and you’ll find more trails. These are more open and run along several creeks. Expect MUD. You’ll probably also see groups on horseback. One more good reason to wear boots, if you kwim.
The first time the boys and I went here, they were in heaven running over the bike jumps and whooping and hollering through the woods. It was late in the day and sort of drizzling, and I’m not going to lie-I full on worked myself into a state thinking about how isolated we were and wondering if we were going to get attacked by a grizzly bear or a serial killer, or maybe a serial killing grizzly bear. Obviously, none of those things happened, but if you are prone to similar freak-outs, go with some pals, or pick a weekend day instead. We went back with my hubby on a Saturday, and it felt much less lonely. We saw at least a dozen horseback riders and several groups of dog walkers.
If you’d like to try horse back riding here, it’s close to a riding facility called Su Dara. I know nothing about this place at all, but our friends Brian and Amy went here with their girls. They said the owners were a bit odd, but the kids had a great time.
If you’re a fan of urban wilderness, you can find similar walks at China Lake in Tacoma and Swan Creek off Pioneer. Hylebos in Federal Way is a developed park with a boardwalk trail that offers a similar habitat.
If you know of other great spots for close-in adventure, let me know!