Many of you are familiar with Craig Romano, the prolific and energetic guidebook writer for Washington State. We use his books all the time to plan our hikes to wild and scenic locations. But it’s not always easy to get out to true wilderness. With iffy weather, packed schedules, family illnesses – sometimes we need a walk closer to home. Craig is now working on a series of books about urban hikes, and I got to review the first one of the series, Urban Trails: Kitsap. This slim, portable volume covers the geographical area of Bainbridge Island, the Key Peninsula, Bremerton, Silverdale, and Gig Harbor. Families will find 36 park and trail systems to choose from, giving abundant possibilities for adventure close to home.
Urban and suburban trails are becoming increasingly important for our growing population. We need places with easy access to recreate and reconnect. The trails in Urban Trails: Kitsap are low-elevation, so they are especially useful in the winter and spring months, when snow makes mountain travel more difficult. The parks cover a wide range of landscapes, including old-growth and second-growth forests, beaches, wetlands, and meadows. Some parks have historical structures, and some offer inspiring views. Craig points out which trails are family-friendly, what hazards to watch out for, which trails may be suitable for strollers and dogs, and even which parks have playgrounds. Restrooms are clearly marked, and he gives detailed driving instructions and GPS coordinates. It looks like there are many hidden gems in that area of Puget Sound; most of the parks I had not heard of before, and there are even some State Parks that I wasn’t aware of. Even trail runners and mountain bikers will find trails to follow in this book. All of these are described in Craig’s candid and engaging writing style.
I highly recommend Urban Trails: Kitsap for families to use as a hiking guide. It retails for $16.95, and deserves a place on your guide book shelf. (Mountaineers Link, Amazon.com Link.) This guide covers trails that you won’t find in the Seattle-centric urban hiking guides. If you prefer, you can get an eBook version. I can’t wait to check out a few of these trails for ourselves. And I’m eagerly anticipating the publication of his next book, Urban Trails: Bellingham, scheduled to release in June 2017. You can follow Craig’s adventures on his personal website, or on hikeoftheweek.com.