Distance: Very short, perhaps 0.2 miles
Elevation Gain: Negligible
Description: This very short, barrier-free trail leads from the parking area to an overlook at some ponds. There are interpretive signs explaining the history of the area, as well as some plants and animals. This is not so much a destination, but can be useful as a place to stop and stretch your legs while driving the Mountain Loop.
Directions: From I-5 in Everett, take Hwy 2 east. Just after you cross over the trestle (the flat part over the fragrant river bottoms) take exit 204 toward Lake Stevens. This road takes you up the hill, and just before you drive into Frontier Village shopping center, take the exit to the left (north) for SR 9. Drive north for about 1.5 miles, then take the exit for Hwy 92 toward Granite Falls. Drive through Granite Falls, and turn left/north on the Mountain Loop Hwy. Follow the Mt. Loop Hwy past the Ranger Station in Verlot (it’s a good place to use the restroom and purchase passes if needed; make sure they are open that day if you need a pass.) About 2.4 miles east of the ranger station, you’ll see the signs for the interpretive trail across the street from the Gold Basin Campground. Parking is available there. Restrooms are available at Hemple Creek Picnic Area (which also makes a lovely stop for a meal and a view of the river.)