Hiking at Llandover Woods. Credit: Jessica Plesko
City nature walks for little legs
As a mother and nature-lover, I was thinking about my son's outdoor enrichment from the moment he was born. When he turned 3, we started to explore one of the Seattle area’s greatest offerings — hiking!
We started off easy and local, as I wasn’t about to commit to a long drive to the mountains only to find out I had a resistant preschooler on my hands (or in my arms). During those early years, we investigated the wealth of tucked-away wild areas in the Lake Washington region. We discovered some jewels, from short wetland walks to a nearly 2-mile hike with significant elevation gain.
What follows are eight local trails which we’ve used as training for later summer hiking in the mountains. These trails are “secret” urban hikes — part of official open space in and around Seattle but not well-known. Each offers different ecosystems to explore, most are maintained by dedicated neighbors, and each trail varies in distance. The trails are listed by region, and then from shortest to longest.
Use the arrows above the image to check out the options.
Editor's note: This article was originally published a few years ago. It mentions cafés, playgrounds, restrooms and other facilities that may be temporarily closed. Please carefully follow guidelines for families playing outdoors when you venture out.