Hike of the Week for Friday, November 26, 2010
Reach the Beach through an Emerald Gulch
Article and photo by Craig Romano
Follow Lunds Creek through a deep ravine
to a beautiful beach.
Land Agency: Snohomish County Parks
Roundtrip: 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 425 feet
Contact: Snohomish County Parks; www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/departments/parks
Special Note: Dogs must be leashed.
Access: From Everett, head 10 miles south on I-5 to exit 183. Follow 164th Street SW west for 1.5 miles bearing left onto 44th Ave W to a traffic light. Turn right onto 168th Street SW and continue west passing SR 99. After .5 mile turn right onto 52nd Ave W. In another half mile turn left onto 160th Street SW. In .25 mile turn right on 56th Ave W. In another .25 mile turn left onto 156th Street SW following to park entrance.
Plenty of snow in the mountains and foothills keeping you from your favorite trails this weekend? Need a place close by and easy to get to so you can work off some of that Thanksgiving stuffing? Well, I’ve got the place for you; and it’s perfect too for bringing along those antsy out-of-town guests to showcase a little sliver of wildness tucked between Seattle and Everett.
The Meadowdale County Park protects over 100 acres of greenery from bluff to beach in heavily suburbanized southern Snohomish County. Here you can hike through a deep green ravine sliced by a salmon-spawning stream to a quiet Puget Sound beach granting sweeping views of Whidbey Island and the Olympic Mountains.
Starting from a grassy opening on a forested bluff, follow a wide and well-built trail into Lunds Gulch. Descending over 400 vertical feet (which you’ll need to regain on the return) the trail travels through a grove of mature and impressive Douglas-firs. Big boughs of ferns line the way. So do hefty cedar and hemlock stumps, testaments to the giants that once flourished here before pioneering loggers “discovered” them. But soon you’ll discover that not all of the big trees here were harvested; a few giant firs and cottonwoods still stand tall within the lush gulch.
John Lund first homesteaded this rugged tract back in 1878. And now over 130 years later, it is nicely reverting back to its wilder days. Soon, the trail follows alongside a small creek also named after Lund. Bubbling and babbling, it makes its short journey to Puget Sound. In autumn, a handful of salmon make their way from the sound to spawn up this creek. After one delightful mile, the trail comes to a junction. The path left leads to the ranger’s residence and to picnic tables scattered across a manicured lawn. Much of this area once sported a country club complete with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and bath houses. In 1968 the Snohomish County Parks department acquired this property and began transforming it into a topnotch natural and recreational gem.
Continue hiking straight along the creek and through forest eventually coming to a railroad underpass. Now make tracks under the tracks to reach the beach. Rest on a driftwood log, comb the shore, and enjoy a splendid view of Whidbey Island and the Olympic Mountains. Sunsets are supreme here, but don’t forget to allot yourself some daylight for the uphill return to your vehicle.
For information on lodging and other attractions near Meadowdale Beach visit www.snohomish.org