Today our writer, Julie, takes us on the Kelly Butte Hike a kid friendly hike not far from Puyallup, Tacoma, and the greater South Sound. Under 3 miles for views like this and a fire lookout? Tell us more!
Short and sweet, steep and rocky, amazing views AND a fire lookout tower. What more could you ask for in a (relatively) nearby hike? The Kelly Butte trailhead is located off of an easily accessible Forest Service road approximately 14.5 miles from 410, two miles past Greenwater.
This trail is only 3.4 miles roundtrip, but it’s well worth the drive. The trail starts out on a former logging trail that meanders through the woods before taking a sharp turn and zig zagging its way up Kelly Butte. Near the top, it flattens out and then there is a short walk along the ridgeline to a repaired fire lookout complete with chairs, a bunk, binoculars, and a logbook. It’s a great place to look for mountain goats (we saw a group of about 8 today, including two kids!), have lunch, and enjoy the panoramic views, before heading back down.
This is definitely a mountain hike, so no strollers. Kids in packs or carriers would work as long as you are surefooted, as it is steep and rocky in some sections. Our kids are 5 and 6, hike regularly, and they cruised right up the trail. And of course the fire lookout was a huge hit!
Parking at this trailhead requires a Northwest Forest Pass. And of course, always make sure you have the 10 essentials! You can get detailed directions and current trip reports at WTA.org. We have lots more family friendly hike options. You might like to start with this great round up!
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