Land Agency: Marysville Parks and Recreation
Roundtrip: 1.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 50 feet
Contact: Marysville Parks
Notes: Dogs must be leashed.
Access: From Exit 199 on I-5, head east on SR 528 (4th Street) about 1.5 miles to parking and trailhead on left.
Good to know: dog-friendly, kid-friendly, historic
Jennings Park is actually two parks in one; the Jennings Memorial Park and Jennings Nature Park. Connected by a paved trail, this 51-acre park compound provides quite an array of attractions for its size. And while this hike is relatively short, count on spending some time here exploring Jennings’ historical structures, showy gardens, and wildlife rich wetlands. Children will particularly like this park, especially its Dinosaur Park (actually a playground) and the giant rooster.
From the park entrance on SR 528 follow a paved path north through the nature park over rolling fields skirting a large wetland. Stately trees line the fields and bluffs encasing the wetland. Several vantage points for observing birds can be accessed by leaving the main path. The paved trail crosses a small creek and then enters the memorial park. Here turn left on a wide trail skirting a ball field. A side trail branches left through a grove of mature conifers. It then crosses Allen Creek on a floating bridge before climbing a bluff to the park’s main parking area and big red barn. Take this trail now or on the return.
If you opt to continue straight, drop to cross Allen Creek and come to a junction. You can veer right to circle a kids’ fishing pond with branching side trails through patches of skunk cabbage. Or continue on the main path climbing a bluff and reaching the park’s main entrance on Armar Road. This part of the park is oft abuzz with plenty of activity. An old barn used as a community center and recreation hall is the area’s focal point. The entire park was once a farm, donated to the city by the Jennings family 50 years ago in 1961. Near the barn is a 100-plus year old restored home long used as the Marysville Historical Society’s Gehl House Museum. Behind the museum is a 1901 steam donkey in remarkably good shape.
After wandering through the historic grounds check out the nearby Washington State University Master Gardeners Demonstration Site. As spring slowly progresses, these gardens will grow increasingly captivating. And the rest of Jennings Park should keep you captivated for sometime as well.
For information on lodging and other attractions near Jennings Park, visit www.snohomish.org.
For lots of other great Snohomish County hikes and walks, pick up your FREE copy of the 2015-16 Hiking in Snohomish County booklet.
For detailed information on snow-free hikes throughout western Washington, pick up a copy of my Winter Hikes of Western Washington card deck.