Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary–Bird bursting, frog hopping wildlife habitat beside Boeing


A .3 mile boardwalk traverses the wetland sanctuary.

Quick Facts

Location: Everett

Land Agency: Snohomish County

Roundtrip: 1.8 miles

Elevation gain: none

Difficulty: Easy

Contact: Friends of Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary

Notes: Dogs must be leashed; open 7 a.m. to dusk

Access: From Everett follow SR 526 west 2.5 miles exiting onto Seaway Boulevard. Proceed for 1.0 mile north. Entrance is on right, across the street from the Fluke Corporation.

Good to know: kid-friendly, interpretive, bird-watching

 The Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary is what you get when you combine public and private interests, over 300 volunteers and six million dollars! Opened to the public in 1999, Narbeck is the product of wetland banking. That is, the creation of new wetlands to mitigate the loss of wetlands to development. In this case, Narbeck was created to offset the environmental loss of wetlands that were filled in to allow for the expansion of nearby Paine Field. This project became the first of its kind in Snohomish County.

With the creation of this high-functioning quality wetland, not only did birds and frogs get a great place to hang-out close to the city of Everett; hikers did too. Explore the Wetlands by following a 1.5 mile Perimeter Trail and a .3 mile boardwalk that winds through the wetland’s interior. Children will especially enjoy the boardwalk. Crushed gravel tread and raised boardwalks require no fancy footwear for enjoying this saturated sanctuary.

The trails are short but they’ll invite long lingering. Take time to read the attractive interpretive signage. Gaze through the alder thickets, cedar groves, and reeds for birds and amphibians. Buffleheads and mallards are abundant. Deer and beavers are occasionally sighted here too. Note the large cedar stumps. It may be hard to imagine that this little wildlife oasis stuck dab in the middle of industrial Everett was once covered in ancient forest.

While the walk through Narbeck is soothing and bird song fills the air, you’ll be hard-pressed to fully enjoy it with all of the industrial noise in the background. Still, if you cover your ears, your eyes may very well have you believing that you are far from the commotion. Try to time your visit early or late in the day when nearby shift workers aren’t using the sanctuary for their lunch break workout. In any case, this nature sanctuary close to the population centers of Snohomish County makes for a great place to visit on a winter’s afternoon.


For information on lodging and other attractions near Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary visit

For more information on snow free winter hiking destinations in the area, consult my Winter Hikes of Western Washington deck.

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