River Trail–Big maples and hidden Snohomish riverfront at Lord Hill

 

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A quiet and remote section of the Snohomish River at the end of the River Trail.

Quick Facts:

Location: Snohomish Valley

Land Agency: Snohomish County Parks

Roundtrip: 5.2 miles

Elevation gain: 650 feet

Contact: Snohomish County Parks 

Map: Snohomish County Parks

Notes: Dogs permitted on leash

Good to know: Dog-friendly, kid-friendly, snow-free winter hike, good trail running

Access:  From Everett follow US 2 to SR 9. Head south on SR 9 and exit onto 2nd Street in Snohomish. Proceed east for a one mile; then turn right onto Lincoln Ave which becomes the Old Snohomish-Monroe Highway. After 2.7 miles turn right (south) onto 127th Ave SE and proceed for about 1.6 miles to park entrance and trailhead.

Lord Hill Regional Park consists of 1,463-acres of forested slopes, lush ravines, rocky outcroppings, scads of wetland ponds, and a wild undeveloped stretch of the Snohomish River. It’s an immense natural area just minutes from Everett with over eleven miles of trails and several more miles of old woods road. Originally homesteaded in the 1880s by Mitchell Lord, the land was farmed before being acquired by the Department of Natural Resources. In the 1980s the land was transferred to Snohomish County Parks becoming its largest property. Lord Hill Park provides countless hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and trail running options. The hike to the Snohomish River via the River Trail is one of the park’s wilder, lonelier, and more challenging options.

This is a reverse climb hike with most of the elevation gain attained on the return, so plan accordingly and save some energy.  012From the main trailhead high on the western shoulder of Lord Hill follow the main trail through a cool forest of big trees, dropping into a marshy depression.  At .4 mile, come to a junction with the Beaver Lake Trail. Turn right continuing on the Main Trail avoiding all side trails. At 1.6 miles, come to a junction with the River Trail.

Take it and soon come to another junction. The trail left, the River Trail Cut-off makes for an alternative approach. It provides access to a small unnamed pond and the Quarry Trail before rejoining the River Trail. Staying right on the River Trail, continue losing elevation.  Bear left where a road leads right to private property. The trail then soon narrows and gets a bit rougher. After rejoining the River Trail Cut-off, it drops into a lush emerald ravine. Weave through giant moss and fern draped maples before emerging on a sandy bank above the Snohomish River.

When the water level is low, it is possible to walk out on gravel bars along the river. If the river is running high, enjoy it from the bank, finding a sun-kissed log to rest upon. No matter the river’s level however, you’ll be treated to a wild undeveloped stretch of this important waterway. You’re not too far from the where the river is formed at the confluence of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie Rivers! That water rushing before you has come from quite a large watershed draining many a mountain valley in the Cascades. During the rainy months the volume is quite impressive.

For information on lodging and other attractions near Lord Hill visit www.snohomish.orgSnohomish-NEW

For more information on this hike and others nearby check out my Day Hiking Central Cascades book

125 hikes from Everett to Wenatchee!

125 hikes from Everett to Wenatchee!

 

Temple Pond—Make a hiking pilgrimage to the Temple of Lord Hill

Maturing forest lines the way to Temple Pond

Maturing forest lines the way to Temple Pond

Quick Facts:

Location: Snohomish County near Monroe and Snohomish

Land Agency: Snohomish County Parks

Roundtrip: 3.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 150 feet

Access: From the city of Snohomish, exit SR 9 onto 2nd Street. Proceed east for a one mile; then turn right onto Lincoln Ave which becomes the Old Snohomish-Monroe Highway. After 2.7 miles turn right (south) onto 127th Ave SE and proceed for about 1.6 miles to park entrance and trailhead.

Notes: Dogs must be leashed.

Contact: Snohomish County Parks

Map Here

Good to know: dog-friendly, kid-friendly, snow-free winter hike

Located between the town of Snohomish and the city of Monroe is Snohomish County’s largest county park; the Lord Hill Regional Park. Named after Mitchell Lord who settled and farmed the area in the 1880s, Lord’s home still stands on the hill. In the last century much of the hill was logged and for awhile was managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources. But in the 1980s citizens and government leaders saw the area’s potential for recreation and preservation. Today the park protects 1,463 acres of forested slopes, lush ravines, basaltic outcroppings, scores of wetland ponds, and a wild undeveloped stretch of the Snohomish River.

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Good boardwalked trails at Lord Hill Park.

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Placid Temple Poind.

With more than eleven miles of trails and several more miles of old woods road, this sprawling park provides countless hiking options. One of the nicest is to Temple Pond, the largest body of water within the park. With minimal elevation gained and lost along the way and via a series of wide and well-groomed trails, this hike is perfect for hikers and walkers of all ages and abilities. It’s a popular trail running destination, too.

Start from the park entrance high on Lord Hill (el. 525 feet) and enter cool forest. Descend about 75 feet to some wetlands and traverse them via boardwalks. At 0.4 mile reach a junction with the Beaver Lake Trail. Head right here continuing on the Main Trail for another 0.6 mile coming to a four-way junction.

Continue straight on the Main Trail Cut-off coming to another four-way junction in 0.2 mile. Continue straight once again, this time on the Temple Pond Loop trail. Follow this near level path through stands of attractive mature forest. The trail brushes up against the northern shore of Temple Pond, a marshy expanse of water that only an amphibian or bird could love! Known actually as Temple Pond 1, there is a Temple Pond 2 located farther downstream, but not accessible by trail.

Continue traversing dark cool woods and reach the Pipeline Trail after meandering 1.6 miles on the loop. Head straight on the Pipeline Cut-off Trail returning to the Main Trail after 0.1 mile. Then turn right retracing familiar territory reaching your vehicle after 0.7 mile. Call it a day or explore more of the park’s wonderful trails.

For information on lodging and other attractions near Temple Pond visit www.snohomish.org.

Lord Hill is one of 50 destinations in my Winter Hikes of Western Washington Deck. Pick up a copy today!Winter Hikes Card Deck

Devil’s Butte–A Frightful name but delightful hike in Lord Hill Park

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The West View Trail utilizes an old woods road.

Quick Facts

Location: Lord Hill Park near Snohomish

Land Agency: Snohomish County Parks

Roundtrip: 3.5 miles

High Point:  650 feet

Elevation gain: 400 feet

Difficulty: moderate

Contact: Snohomish County Parks

Notes: Dogs must be on leash; trails open to bikes and horses

Access: From the city of Snohomish, exit SR 9 onto 2nd Street. Proceed east for a mile; then turn right onto Lincoln Ave which becomes the Old Snohomish-Monroe Highway. After about 2.5 miles turn right (south) onto 127th Ave SE and proceed for about 1.5 miles to park entrance and trailhead.

Good to know: dog-friendly, kid-friendly, snow free Winter Hikes

 

Despite the demonic name, Devil’s Butte is actually quite a serene place. A quiet corner of Lord Hill Regional Park, it’s definitely not a playground for the Prince of Darkness. And Lord Hill, named after an early settler and not a deity is indeed a heavenly place. Comprising of over 1,400-acres of forested slopes, lush ravines, rocky outcroppings, scores of wetland ponds, and a wild undeveloped stretch of the Snohomish River, this park is an immense natural area and just minutes from Everett. With over eleven miles of trails and several more miles of old woods road, this former Department of Natural Resources Property provides countless hiking options. And the one to Devil’s Butte is one of the quieter destinations.

From the trailhead follow the main trail through a cool forest of big trees, dropping into a marshy depression. A series of boardwalks will help keep your boots from getting wet.  At .4 mile, come to a junction with the Beaver Lake Trail. Turn right here and continue on the main trail.  After .3 mile, come to a junction with the West View Trail. Take it veering right on what was once an old woods road now a pleasant path through maturing forest.

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Wetland pool on the Devil’s Butte Loop.

After another half mile or so and some gradual climbing you’ll reach yet another junction—this one with the Devils Butte Loop. You’ll be returning from the right, so continue straight to the West View. Here you’ll be granted a pleasant albeit limited view north to Mount Baker. The trees are growing in, so don’t wait too long to do this hike if you seek a view as a reward for your hiking efforts. The biggest draw to this hike is its solitude as most Lord Hill visitors head to other more popular locations.

Now either retrace your steps or head right on the Devils Loop Trail. Ignore a side trail heading to the butte’s actual summit which is outside of the park boundaries, capped with two large towers and viewless. The loop trail drops into a pretty wetland area before climbing back up to meet the West View Trail. Head left here to return to the trailhead.

For information on lodging and other attractions near Devil’s Butte visit www.snohomish.org

For more information on Lord Hill and other snow free hiking destinations in Western Washington, check out my Winter Hikes of Western Washington deck (Mountaineers Books).