With Winter winding down and Spring on its way, we’ve rounded up some of the best area Rainy Day Hikes and Walking Trails with Kids. For those times you don’t want to venture into the mud and muck, try one of these hikes! The amazing gals from Hike It Baby are experts, and pointed the way for us toward spots that are made less muddy by pavement, gravel, or boardwalks. Let us know if you venture out to any of these!
This 7 mile stretch of paved trails winds through wetlands, farmlands, and even some neighborhoods. This is a definite TRAIL, and for those kiddos who aren’t keen on “just walking”, this could prove tiresome. You might even consider bringing a long a bike or wagon for when little legs get tired. Or, bribe them with a trip to the awesome Lake Meridian playground which is AWESOME at any time of year, rain or shine.
In the south end of Federal Way just down the road from Costco, you’ll find this protected wetland that features a mile long boardwalk trail. You’ll spy the small parking lot just off 348th Street, which you can’t miss because of the historic cabins viewable from the road.
We love to venture here at each season of the year to see how the forest growth has changed. The pathway is part gravel, and part boardwalk. Some parts may include puddles, which you can easily avoid, unless you’ve brought your rain gear. There are a variety of paths to take and always plenty of friends to see along the way, such as slugs, birds, bunnies, and squirrels. The kids love to see old growth trees toppled over, revealing their root systems over 6 feet wide. The moss and beautiful trees along the way make you feel as if you have been transported to the wilds of the PNW, and almost forget the I-5 traffic nearby.
There is a porta potty in the parking lot, picnic tables, and benches for resting along the way. Be forewarned: as this is a protected wetland, four legged friends are not welcome. Sadness!
While the entire country now knows of the beauty at Chambers Bay, maybe you have yet to venture here. If you’re looking for a trail with a view, this is the spot. There are 5 trails to choose from, ranging in length from 0.5 miles to 2 miles. The trails are primarily paved and easy to traverse for even the newest walkers. There are also 2 trails with more off-roading conditions for the adventurous types. The Central Meadow Loop Trail goes out to the beach and includes a pedestrian bridge with sweeping views of Puget Sound.
If all of that beauty isn’t enough, the kids will love to play at the Playground by the Sound.
Nearly 2 miles of soft surfaced trails allow for outdoor adventure not too far from the city. If your kiddo decides walking isn’t in the plan for the day, spend some time at the Discovery Pond playground. You can also stop inside the visitor’s center to see lots of little creatures, such as turtles, fish and a bee hive. My kiddos loved trying on the wildlife costumes.
If you live near DuPont or don’t mind driving there, this mostly paved trail is worth the trek! Park your car right at the DuPont City Hall and find the trailhead just behind it. At the end of the 1.5 mile trek (3 miles roundtrip), you are rewarded with a pebbled beach and old rail lines. Littles may not be able to handle the whole trip, so bring a jogging stroller if you have one who ends up wanting to be carried halfway through. Check out our full review of this Hike in Dupont.
The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge offers several miles of trails with 5 different trails along boardwalks ranging in length from 0.1 miles to 1.5 miles one way. Before you begin your trek, make a potty stop at the Twin Barns as there are no facilities along the trails. Each of the trails provides excellent views of the surrounding wetlands and wildlife. Staff recommend timing your walking to within 2 hours of high tide as the highest amounts of estuarine birds will be present.
Be sure to stop by the Visitor’s Center, too, where kids can grab a Junior Refuge Manager workbook and play at the Nature Explore Area. As this is a wildlife refuge, four legged friend’s are asked to stay home. Sadness again! Daily use fee is $3/adults and free for children ages 16 and under.
Hiking within the watershed is made more adventures by steep inclines and some steps. However, many areas are traversed via boardwalk or gravel. This could be a good stop for the older kiddos who are looking to really start hiking. Parking can be found on 2500 Henderson Boulevard SE.
Looking to try these trails with some company? Be sure to check out Hike it Baby’s Tacoma chapter on Facebook or search their Upcoming Hikes for one near you. Hike it Baby organizes hikes around the area with like minded parents who are looking to introduce their children to the wonders of nature and opting outside. Not to mention, they have great tips on where to go and lots of friendly faces.
They also introduced Sounds Fun Mom to the beauty of the Tuffo Muddy Buddy Overalls. Worried about your kid getting all wet, muddy, and gross on the trails? Put these over their clothes and you can simply remove them when it’s time to head for home.