Three King County Parks Off the Beaten Path

Travel beyond Seattle city limits to the furthest reaches of King County, and you’ll be rewarded with a rich diversity of rural parks. These open spaces and natural areas are great places to birdwatch, mountain bike, and observe a variety of unique ecosystems like bogs and wetlands.

Moss Lake Natural Area

At Moss Lake Natural Area near Duvall, you’ll find 372 acres of a rare habitat that encompasses a large bog, open water, and forested wetland. The surrounding upland forest provides wildlife habitat to a variety of threatened species, like bald eagle, Vaux’s swift, red-tailed hawk, pileated woodpecker, bandtailed pigeon, western toad, and Beller’s ground beetle, so don’t forget to bring your binoculars

Near the parking lot, visitors will encounter an outdoor art installation by Chuck Greening. “Axelilia” offers viewers a selection of native plants set alongside a viewing area outfitted with stone benches. All in all, Moss Lake has a variety of natural beauties to offer visitors who are looking for a peaceful walk with significantly less foot traffic.

Natural beauty and wetlands abound at Moss Lake Natural Area.

Tolt-MacDonald Park

Located in Carnation at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers, Tolt-MacDonald Park and Campground offers 575 acres of exploration. Beyond a 500-foot suspension foot bridge over the Snoqualmie River lies twelve miles of forested and riverside trails connecting to an extensive network of trails in the adjacent Ames Lake Forest —­ a favorite mountain biking destination.

The park features six yurts overlooking the river and seasonal camping for RVs, tents, and two large-group campsites outfitted with fire pits. There are also two large picnic shelters and a restored barn available for special events with a playground nearby. Tolt-MacDonald Park is a spacious riverside park that’s wonderful to explore with a group as it offers visitors a little bit of everything.

Tolt-MacDonald Park in Carnation offers striking views of the Snoqualmie Valley.

Black Diamond Open Space

Black Diamond Open Space (BDOS) is located two miles north of Black Diamond and six miles south of Maple Valley. The 1,240-acre park contains sections of a protected migratory corridor called the Wildlife Habitat Network. BDOS also offer 17 miles of trails that are much beloved by mountain bikers.

Featuring streams, peat bogs, and wetlands, the open space straddles the Cedar River Watershed and the Green River Watershed. These waters are home to cutthroat trout, coho, sockeye, and chinook salmon. Beavers have also been observed in the area. Rock Creek, a fish-bearing stream runs through the site, which drains to Cedar River and out to Puget Sound. Ravensdale Creek also flows through the site. If you’re itching to explore wooded, volunteer-maintained trails via mountain bike or taking your fishing rod out for a spin, BDOS is the place for you.

Black Diamond Open Space features streams, peat bogs, and wetland views.

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