One of the best things about living in Thurston County, or in the PNW for that matter, is the abundance of nature trails and hiking. With such tremendous diversity in trails in Thurston County, it may be nearly impossible to pick the best one. Whether you are looking for kid/family friendly, beaches, 3+ miles, or even casual walks, here our top 10 hikes in the Olympia.
One of Olympia's favorite, Priest Point Park as many amenities. The park has several picnic areas, play areas and a playground. The park is also a great place for hiking, and walking. On the east side of the park their are several well maintained wooded walking trails. On the west side of East Bay Dr. you can take a steep trail down to the beach, where you can walk the beach, or take in the view.
Also on the east side is access to Ellis Cove. This 2.5 mile trail wraps around Ellis Cove with a nicely manicured trail, with views of the Capitol building, and on a clear day the Olympic Mountains.
Address: 3302 East Bay Dr. NE Olympia, WA
Woodard Bay Conservation Area
Woodard Bay wild life sanctuary is just minutes away from downtown Olympia. Woodard Bay conservation covers over 800 acres of protected land. The conservation site is a protected habitat for wildlife, as well as 5 miles of shoreline.
For a light walk the conservation area has a 1.5 mile loop that rejoins the road, to the point, where you can enjoy amazing views. Along the walk you can see many mature old grow, marine life, a variety of birds and other animals.
Address: From I-5 heading south, take Exit 109 (Martin Way Exit) towards Sleater-Kinney Road, and make a right onto Sleater-Kinney Rd NE. Travel approximately 4.5 Miles and continue as it turns into 56th Ave NE For 0.4 Miles. When you reach the "T", turn right onto Shincke Rd NE and proceed one-half mile. Turn to the left and becomes Woodard Bay Rd NE. Cross the bridge over Woodard Bay and find a parking lot on your right.
Chehalis Western Trail
The Chehalis Western trail spans 22 miles going from NE Olympia all the way to SE Tenino. This walk, bike, stroller, dog friendly trail is not your typical hiking trail, with most of the trail being paved. Along the trail there are scenic sites, which include ponds, the Deschutes river, Puget Sound, Chambers Lake, Monarch Sculpture Park, side horse routes, views of Mt. Rainier and access to over 100 acres of park land. The Chehalis trail is for great for taking a relaxing stroll and perfect for anytime of the year.
There are several access points along the trail, with more notable trail head .25 mile from Woodard Bay Conservation Area.
Address: From I-5 exit 109, turn right on Martin Way, then left on College Street. Pass Lacey Blvd. and turn right on 14th Ave. to the parking area.