Update 3/27: As of Wednesday, March 25 King County Parks closed all parks. Parking lot and trailhead gates were locked, and restrooms were closed.
The closure comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, which included guidance to further restrict groups from gatherings. For the latest information visit King County Parks: Corona Virus Update
With everyone cooped up at home, social distancing being the order of the day, and gyms and other sports being a no-go zone, what’s a person supposed to do to get a little exercise and maintain your sanity?
How about some ‘forest bathing’? Also referred to as nature therapy, ecotherapy, or ‘hiking’, forest bathing is a new term for an old practice. Trails and parks that don’t have play structures are an open invitation to the imagination, and they don’t need sanitizing wipes after use.
Here are our top four trails and parks to get your forest bath on. Please remember that when using our parks, trails and open spaces, please follow Public Health’s guidelines in preventing the spread of this virus:
- Practice social distancing, leaving at least 6 feet between others.
- Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
Go for a bike ride on one of King County’s regional trails – With more than 300 miles of regional trails in King County, chances are there’s one in your backyard. Plan a trip and find a regional trail near you with our TrailFinder site.
Try these quieter trails for a fun ride without the crowds:
Cedar River Trail – This trail follows the Cedar River from where it enters Lake Washington in the City of Renton upriver to the community of Landsburg at the boundary of the City of Seattle’s Cedar River Watershed. At 17.4 miles in length the Cedar River Trail is a paved, off-road trail for the first 12.3 miles, and features a soft surface for the last five miles.
Soos Creek Trail – Features a gentle grade in a natural setting suitable for leisurely strolls, bicycle rides, and horse rides. A connection from the Soos Creek Trail to the Lake Youngs Trail (9 miles, unpaved and great for runners) can be made along SE 216th St corridor.
Green River Trail – This trail winds more than 19 miles through industrial lands near the Duwamish Waterway in Tukwila to the broad Green River Valley. The Green River Trail provides excellent views and access to the Green River and surrounding river valley from Cecil Moses Park near Seattle’s south boundary to North Green River Park in south Kent near Auburn.
Snoqualmie Valley Trail – This trail offers the opportunity to get out and explore one of the most beautiful agricultural valleys in the region. The 31.7-mile-long Snoqualmie Valley Trail meanders past working farms as well as preserved open space areas, and connects to the cross-state John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Iron Horse State Park.
Visit one of these backcountry trails for a relaxing hike – Visit one of 26 natural parks that offer 215 miles of backcountry trail networks.
Try one of these less visited parks for a breath of clean forest air:
Moss Lake – Moss Lake Natural Area is a DNRP Ecological Land. Located 5 miles southeast of Duvall, 3.5 miles northeast of Carnation, and 1 mile east of Lake Joy in the Cascade foothills. One of our colleagues said about Moss Lake, “It has a great spiritual vibe. No kidding. I always feel great after I visit there.”
Tanner Landing – On the banks of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Tanner Landing Park is a waterside green space that is a popular put in for white water enthusiasts. An easy, mile-long loop has a stretch along the river with views of Mt. Si, Little Si, and across the valley to the profile of Rattlesnake Ledge.
Soaring Eagle – Soaring Eagle Regional Park is 760 acres of mature forests, wetlands, and wildlife habitat. Soaring Eagle sits above Patterson Creek on the edge of the Sammamish Plateau along the western flank of the Snoqualmie River Valley. This natural area provides sanctuary for black bear, bobcat, black tail deer and more than 40 species of birds.
Ring Hill Forest – Ring Hill Forest is 320 acres of rural forestland located on the west wall above the Snoqualmie Valley above the Snoqualmie River. The forest slopes from the plateau in the west steeply to the Snoqualmie Valley floor to the east. Ring Hill was acquired to conserve rural forestlands, provide a buffer between rural residential development and agricultural uses in the Snoqualmie Valley, and provide revenue while demonstrating sustainable forestry.
Grab the kids, the dogs, your partner, or your camera and hit up one of these parks and trails. Breath deep, listen intently, and let your ‘forest bath’ wash away your worries.