Even after we’ve been living in this area for many years, there are still parks we haven’t been to yet. Last Friday we went to one that is fairly close to us, the Paradise Valley Conservation Area.
This lovely park is covered with mature second-growth forest, and a network of 10 miles of mixed-use trails give you many choices for length of hikes and habitat to walk through.
We meandered slowly along the Mainline Trail, then circled around on the Cascara and Whispering Firs Trails.
We printed out the map from the website before we went, and Gabe and Annika led us along, making the decisions of where to turn each time.
Every trail junction is well marked, and there are numbered waypoints to help you know where you are with even more clarity. It was a really good exercise for the kids in their map skills.
We stopped often and enjoyed the birdsong, even though it was the middle of the afternoon. I’d like to go back some spring morning and hear the dawn chorus. We were surprised to hear ravens, and enjoyed the melodies of Swainson’s thrushes and winter wrens. We think we heard blackheaded grosbeaks, as well as a few other species.
Interpretive signs line the trails, giving information about native plants. We had a snack in The Clearing, where there are wide benches for a little rest.
There were some muddy sections, and we did have to step aside for a few mountain bikers, but there is plenty of room for everyone, and there are some trails that are hiker only.
This was a really nice place to come to stretch our legs and get our dose of nature. I know we’ll be back many times. [You can read more about this park in the Seattle Times Article about it.]