6. Fort Ward Park to Blakely Harbor Park
Starting at Fort Ward Park, this hike’s best feature is its power-packed terminus, especially the fun, graffiti-covered power plant and newly built bridge. This special destination is the site of the former Port Blakely Mill, which was one of the world’s largest sawmills in the late 1800s. It’s now Blakely Harbor Park.
Start this meandering walk through a thick forest of Douglas fir, bigleaf maples and wetland areas at Fort Ward Park. From the parking lot, walk a half-mile to an uphill path on the left. Keep left to stay on the paved trail. Upon arrival in the upper parking lot, follow the trail on the left, beyond the toilet in the rear of the parking lot. You’ll find a large sign clearly marking the Fort Ward-Blakely Harbor Trail. Keep an eye out for PNW Gnome Home No. 8.
At the road, cross over and pick up the trail on the right (marked as waypoint 15). The trail ends in a parking lot where you’ll need to cross a busy street, Northeast Country Club Road. Go right on the meadow trail until it intersects with a trail to the beach on the right, where you will encounter an incredible view of the Seattle skyline. This hike took us an hour each way with a motivated 5-year-old in the lead!
More places to explore with kids around Puget Sound:
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2021 and updated for 2023.