Location: Mountlake Terrace, southern Snohomish County
Land Agency: City of Mountlake Terrace
Roundtrip: 2.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 125 feet
Access: From Seattle: drive I-5 north to exit 178. Turn right and follow 236th Street SW for 0.7 mile. Then turn left onto 48th Ave W and drive north 0.2 mile to park and parking on your left.
From Everett: drive I-5 south to exit 179. Turn left and drive 220th St SW for 0.3 mile. Then turn right onto 56th Ave West and drive 0.9 mile. Turn left onto 236th Street SW and continue 0.4 mile. Then turn left onto 48th Ave W and drive 0.2 mile to park and parking on your left.
Contact: Mountlake Terrace Parks Department
Notes: dogs permitted on leash
Good to Know: Kid-friendly, dog-friendly. Snow free winter hike, urban trail
A pretty little greenbelt in the heart of suburban Mountlake Terrace, this 60-acre park protects a swath of forest alongside Lyons Creek. It also provides for residents and visitors alike lots of outdoor recreation opportunities—including a well groomed one mile hiking trail. For hikers, walkers and runners the trail is the most important aspect of this park. But others know this park for its challenging Frisbee golf course, its picnic grounds and its playground. And it’s the park’s playground that is responsible for this park’s sweet and holiday-themed name.
Officially known as Terrace Creek Park, it was established in the early 1950s not too long after the city’s incorporation. The first play piece set in the park was painted with red and white stripes. Then in 1956 according to Parks Services director, Ken Courtmanch, “the Lady Lyons Club donated two new metal play structures consisting of a swing set and a two level climber making sure to keep the red and white painted theme. The children at the time affectionately called the park ‘Candy Cane Park’ and as they grew their children continued the tradition.”
By the late 1990s the original play equipment was replaced with new play structures. “There were no commercial structures available with the Candy Cane theme,” says Courtmanch. “So the city purchased white swing sets and worked with a Boy Scouts of America troop who (using hundreds of rolls of tape) taped the swing sets and painted them to reflect the “Candy Cane” theme of the past.”
For hikers, walkers and runners the most important part of this park was created in 1969 with the purchase of several parcels along Lyons Creek forming a greenbelt north of the playfield. To explore it, walk past the candy cane play equipment following a paved path through a big field. Then meet up alongside the small creek and follow it up stream through a lush emerald ravine. The area’s original forest cover was logged long ago and you will see several big stumps testifying to the big trees that once grew here. But you’ll walk past a few big trees in this mature second growth forest that now flourishes here.
The trail now a wide soft surfaced path is marked with ¼ mile posts. At the halfway point cross the creek at a junction. Here a wide path leads up out of the ravine right to 228th Street SW. It makes for a nice loop via sidewalk on 48th Ave NW back to your start. From this point another path climbs steeply left to the Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion and off-leash dog park. There are some nice quiet tree-lined streets and adjacent parks to walk through here as well.
The main trail continues up the ravine alongside the creek. During the wet months the added flow makes for a few nice little cascades. At 1.0 mile the trail terminates at 221st SW. Turn around and enjoy the walk downstream now. Return often—during the holiday season and throughout the year.
For information on lodging and other attractions in and near Mountlake Terrace visit: www.snohomish.org.
For detailed information on other great Snohomish County hiking destinations including many in and near county population centers; pick up your free copy of the 2015-16 Hiking in Snohomish County booklet (available at county visitor centers) or download one for free here.