Land Agency: Snohomish County Parks
Roundtrip: 3.2 miles
Elevation Gain: minor ups and downs
Access: From SR 522 in Maltby (5.0 miles east of Woodinville; 8.0 miles west of Monroe) head east on Paradise Lake Road for 1.7 miles to trailhead.
Notes: Dogs must be on leash. Park open 7 am to dusk.
Contact: Snohomish County Parks
Opened on Earth Day 2009, Snohomish County Park’s 793-acre Paradise Valley Conservation Area has become one of the region’s most popular hiking, mountain-biking and trail running destinations. Located just outside of the Seattle-Everett urban sprawl, this expansive greenbelt not only provides a superb trail system, but also serves as a refuge for a myriad of wildlife species. With over 13.0 miles of trails currently in place and more yet to be constructed, there is plenty of ground at Paradise Valley to explore. The 1.6 mile Mainline Trail travels south right through the heart of the park. Traversing forests of fir and alder, the trail travels through old cuts, stands of mature timber, wetland flats and a small ridge. While the hike out and back to the trail’s terminus at the park’s southern boundary certainly makes for a good afternoon jaunt, scores of opportunities exist to extend your adventure. A dozen plus trails radiate from this main artery including a few that are hiker-only.
For a quieter and wilder return, head left on the Southern Traverse Trail and then pick up the Forest Ridge Trail back to the Mainline. If you want a longer return, take either the Wetland Plateau Trail back or the snaking Red Alder Trail. There is plenty of ground to explore at this property that was originally homesteaded in the 1880s by James and Eliza Lloyd. They logged much of the property and raised cattle and sheep in the cutover areas. In 2000, descendants of James and Eliza sold the property to Snohomish County Parks.
Today the area flourishes with wildlife including deer, bear, beaver, cougar and coyote. The property also contains the headwaters of Bear Creek, an important salmon supporting tributary of the Sammamish River.
While there is currently plenty of terrain to discover within Paradise Valley, park officials wish to eventually expand the trail system to the northern portions of the park as well as construct an Interpretive Center. In the meantime, make a beeline to the Mainline!
For information on lodging and other attractions near Paradise Valley County Park, visit www.snohomish.orgFor detailed information on where to go hiking in Snohomish County, consult my Day Hiking North Cascades or Day Hiking Central Cascades books.