National parks closed, time to explore somewhere new

As the shutdown of the federal government continues, all national parks are closed. While our parks are, of course, a great place to enjoy the outdoors, there’s a lot more in our state to explore.

If you’ve had to cancel plans at a national park, now would be a good time to see somewhere new. Here’s some ideas. And even if the government gets moving again, these are all still trips worth taking.

State parks

State parks are open as usual. You need a Discover Pass to park. For a full list of parks, click here.

A few parks have closed for the season, although most are still open. Joseph Whidbey State Park is closed. All other parks in Snohomish and Island counties are still open. Click here for the schedule for all parks in the state.

Here is a small selection of some parks in our area for you explore. Find more in this handy map.

County parks

Snohomish County has a number of parks that you can explore. Many of these are also great for winter hikes when it’s too snowy to hike the mountains. Click here for a full list of parks.

A few parks to try:

  • Lord Hill Regional Park: I love this park. It has a meandering series of trails that you can wander for as long or short as you like. You’ll likely encounter bikers and horses here. Keep an eye out for them.
  • Centennial Park: This is a long, paved trail for walking, running, biking and horseback riding.
  • Robe Canyon: Hike a trail for lovely views of Robe Canyon off of the Mountain Loop Highway.

City parks

I hope you’re already exploring your city’s parks. If you’re not, here’s a great chance. And if the weather turns foul, no matter. You can dash back to home without too much trouble.

To find city parks near you, check your city’s web page.

A few parks to try:

  • Forest Park: This park in Everett has a number of trails that wander through the woods. There’s also a lovely playground if you need to wear out your kids even more after wandering the trails.
  • Twin Rivers Park: This park in Arlington is near the river and has a nice trail for strolling.
  • Lighthouse Park: Wander along a short trail, skip rocks in the waves or flip over rocks looking for sea creatures. This park in Mukilteo is great for families.

National forests

This is tricky. Most forest service trails are probably accessible. However, if there is a gate on the road to the trail, it’s possible it will be locked. All facilities will be closed and restrooms will likely be locked. You should still hang a Northwest Forest Pass because there’s a chance local authorities might be checking trailheads. Check WTA’s trip reports; if a hiker has discovered an area closed, they may have mentioned it in a trip report.

More in Life

‘Found’: Author and climber a 20-year veteran of mountain rescue

In her second book, Bree Loewen shares her experiences of volunteering with Seattle Mountain Rescue.

Secret garden: Privacy trees that won’t outgrow a small space

These plants offer some height to block out unwanted sights without taking over your yard.

Stock your winter bookshelf with these animal and nature reads

Four new books cover outdoors topics from butterflies to wolves.

The Shed Players recently released their new album “Our Shingle Most Favorites.”
Listen here: Josh Clauson, The Shed Players release new CDs

This feature is all about Snohomish County’s homegrown talent: locals who make music and record it.

Newfangled cooker isn’t for those with tried and true methods

Columnist Jennifer Bardsley recently succumbed to peer pressure and purchased an Instant Pot.

Now is the time to assess your student’s back-to-school plan

Take a good look at how your kids are managing their new routine, class, teacher(s) and homework.

Author’s talk of birds and clouds kicks off Marysville series

1. Birds and clouds Marysville’s Outdoor Adventure Speakers Series is kicking into… Continue reading

How to shop in the street markets of France

It’s the best way to connect with the nation’s farmers and artisans.

Oprah Winfrey joins ‘60 Minutes’ for 50th anniversary year

The media giant debuts on tonight’s show, reporting on a story about America’s political divisions.

Most Read