We know you can’t get enough of kid friendly hikes and walks! Today, Tiffany brings you the scoop on a Maple Valley area destination that will be worth the trip for nature loving readers all over! You can even combine it with park play and a lake swim.
The Lake Wilderness Arboretum, a hidden gem located in Maple Valley, offers 42 acres of gardens and forest trails. I recently checked out the hiking and nature trails along with my 9 year old son, his friend, and our dog.
The Tribal Life Trail is a popular field trip destination for Tahoma school kids and a fun place to sneak a little learning into an outdoor experience. This very short (270 feet) walk takes you through an ethnobotanical garden of plants used historically by Native Americans. It was fun to talk about how resourceful the Native Americans were in using plants for medicine and even clothing. But the highlight of the trail for the two boys I brought along were the two wooden totem poles. The boys enjoyed trying to figure out what animals were represented in the carved wood, and posing for pictures with the totems.
Once you walk the Tribal Life Trail, there are plenty of other paths to take. Some paths take you through forested areas and some feature flower gardens with beautiful examples of fuchsias, hydrangeas, and huge columbines. In our wanderings, we discovered a large fire pit, logs for climbing, a pond with a waterfall, and a little library. The Little Free Library is a nook for books carved right into a tree trunk, filled with books to borrow. A covered bench is nearby for comfortable reading. Alongside the Tribal Life Trail there is huge open meadow that is the perfect place to have a picnic, turn a few cartwheels, or throw a Frisbee.
The arboretum is open from dawn until dusk and both entrance and parking are free. This is a great place to spend a relaxed morning or afternoon, and you can head over to the nearby Lake Wilderness Park afterwards to play on the swings and slides or swim in Lake Wilderness.