Ephemeral Trail–Enjoy lasting memories on this Paradise Valley Trail

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Spring has sprung at the Paradise Valley!

Location: Maltby

Land Agency: Snohomish County Parks

Roundtrip: 4.0 miles

Elevation gain: 200 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Contact: Snohomish County Parks

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

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.

Good to know: dog-friendly, kid-friendly,

Opened to the public on Earth Day 2009, Paradise Valley is one of Snohomish County’s newest parks. And since its opening nearly five years ago it has rapidly become one of the county’s more popular parks. Protecting from development nearly 800 forested acres on the edge of Suburbia, Paradise Valley is not only a hiking haven with its 13 miles of trails, but also a sanctuary for wildlife. Originally homesteaded in the 1880s, Paradise Valley now provides refuge for bear, cougar, deer, and a myriad of other critters both furry and feathered. And the park protects the headwaters of Bear Creek too, an important salmon rearing stream.

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The park’s trails are well maintained and marked.

You’ll have fun exploring the park’s well-marked and extensive trail system. Most of trails are multi-use, so you’ll be sharing them with mountain bikers and equestrians as well. All of the trails are open to hikers and some are hiker only. Pick up a map at the kiosk at the main trailhead (or download one on line) before setting out.

The Ephemeral Trail in the park’s southwest corner is one of the quieter paths in Paradise Valley leading to an ephemeral (seasonal) wetland. Spring is the best time for doing this trail when the boggy wetlands provide amorous amphibians a stage to croon.  Courting birds pitch in too with their own melodic love songs. The forest itself instills love in the air with wildflowers decorating the forest floor with showy boutiques.

From the trailhead march up the Mainline Trail 1.5 miles to Waypoint Junction number 22. Now follow the Two Trees Trails (trust me there are plenty more than two trees on this trail!) for two tenths of a mile to Waypoint Junction number 23. Here the Ephemeral Trail takes off for its 0.8 mile journey ending at the Red Alder Trail. Follow the Red Alder Trail right 0.3 mile back to the Mainline Trail or extend your hike in a myriad of ways by combing other park trails.

For information on lodging and other attractions near Paradise Valley County Park visit www.snohomish.org

For more information on other great snow free hikes in the Puget Sound Lowlands, consult my Winter Hikes of Western Washington deck (Mountaineers Books).

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