Land Agency: Snohomish County Parks and Recreation
Roundtrip: 2.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 100 feet
Access: From Everett follow I-5 south to exit 181. Now follow SR 524 (196th St SW) west passing SR 99 and in about another mile turn right onto 76th Ave W. Proceed for about .5 mile to a four-way stop in the Perrinville section of Edmonds. Turn left onto Olympic View Drive and in 0.25 mile enter Southwest County Park. Trailhead parking is on left.
Notes: Dogs permitted on leash.
Contact: Snohomish Parks and Recreation Department (425) 388-3411; www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/Departments/Parks
Above the bustle of the Edmonds waterfront is a large tract of land reminiscent of what much of the area once looked like back in the early 20th century. Here not too far from Lynnwood is a 120-acre tract of greenery known as the Southwest County Park; the largest swath of protected land within the Edmonds’ city limits. Occupying a deep ravine and thickly forested bluffs overlooking Puget Sound, this park is also one of the last big green patches in southwestern Snohomish County. Much of the park is undeveloped and in a forested state, but there are two small loop trails allowing hikers to experience a fairly wild parcel of land between Seattle and Everett.
Once owned by Pope and Talbot, the parkland like much of the surrounding area has been logged. But the last time axes came through the area was many decades ago allowing the forest here to mature. You’ll find a handful of impressive firs and cedars in your explorations. While invasive holly and non-native gray squirrels thrive in the park, much of the terrain harbors a green blanket of indigenous salal, Oregon grape and big boughs of ferns.
Take the small loop first for a half mile saunter through quiet upland woods. Window openings in the forest canopy provide peeks of Puget Sound and Olympic Mountain peaks hovering above. Interpretive signs help you identify plants along the way.
Return back to the trailhead and carefully cross Olympic View Drive to access the longer loop trail. This path parallels the road running above a deep ravine hiding Perrinville Creek. Along the way the trail makes a few dips into cool groves of mature evergreens. Several large stumps bearing springboard notches stand as testimonies to this parcel’s past. Its future however, looks good as the forest of Southwest County Park continues to mature providing a living museum of what much of the region looked like before interstates highways and shopping centers.
For information on lodging and other attractions near Southwest County Park visit www.snohomish.org.