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Urban Trails: Kitsap by Craig Romano – Book Review

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Urban Trails: Kitsap Cover

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.

mountaineers books, urban hiking, kitsap, families, kids hiking
Banner Forest (Photo by Craig Romano)

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.

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Anderson Point (Photo by Craig Romano)

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, 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

mountaineers books, urban hikes, kitsap, craig romano, hikes for kids, families
McCormick Forest

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail : Washington, by Tami Asars, Book Review

  When I was younger, my biggest dream in life was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I was never able to figure out how to tackle that audacious goal, and life moved on, and I set that dream aside. But now Tami Asars has come out with a unique new book about how to…Continue Reading

Book Review: Treecology by Monica Russo

The latest book I’ve reviewed for you is Treecology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Trees and Forests by Monica Russo. [Amazon link here.] This thin paperback is accessible for both parents and teachers. It is packed full of the science to understand all parts of trees and the environments they grow…Continue Reading

Book Review: 100 Classic Hikes: Washington by Craig Romano

My bookshelf has two rows of various hiking guides, but recently a new guide came out that will have a prominent spot in the first row. Craig Romano has rewritten and updated Harvey Manning and Ira Spring’s original 100 Classic Hikes in Washington book from 1998, including some of the initial hikes, but adding some new…Continue Reading

Book Review: Lassoing the Sun by Mark Woods

The Centennial of the National Park Service has inspired many people to take journeys through the parks and write about them. Mark Woods planned a year-long odyssey to twelve national parks to ask questions about their future. Each park was supposed to symbolize a different issue the parks are facing in the future. He ended…Continue Reading

Book Review: Leaflets Three, Let it Be! by Anita Sanchez

I recently received a book for the purposes of review that I’d like to share with you today. Leaflets Three, Let it Be! is a picture book for children about identifying poison ivy. But it also shows the many uses of the plant through the seasons. It is written by Anita Sanchez and illustrated by…Continue Reading

Book Review: Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest by Julie Zickefoose

  It’s truly spring here in the Pacific Northwest, and everything is budding and blooming. The birds are noisy in the mornings, the morning chorus announcing the breeding season. Pretty soon, baby birds will be hatching, begging for food, and learning to fly. For the past two years we’ve had bird nests built on our…Continue Reading

National Parks Week 2016, and Review of National Geographic Guides

April 16-24, 2016 has been designated National Parks Week. This national event is a time to focus on and celebrate all that the National Parks have to offer us. During this week, admission is free to all parks, and special events are planned at many sites. The Park Service has created a special website for this…Continue Reading

Day Hiking: Mount St. Helens, Book Review and Interview

Mount St. Helens has held a special place in the soul of the Pacific Northwest since its eruptions in the 1980s. Many of us parents are old enough to remember following the saga on the news, and remember where we were on the day of the big eruption. We find it fascinating to visit this…Continue Reading

Book Review and Giveaway: How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson

A decade ago, Richard Louv came out with the groundbreaking book Last Child in the Woods. He sounded the alarm for parents and caregivers about how our children are not getting enough time in nature, and the consequences of this paucity of exposure. Now Dr. Scott Sampson has written a book to help parents with…Continue Reading