Hiking is all about experiencing the natural world around you, and what could be more natural than a tranquil stroll through a coastal forest to the stunning Puget Sound? The seaside woods of Washington offer the best of both worlds when it comes to summer hiking. There’s a trail hike on The Evergreen State College campus that is a perfect way to cool off in the forest with a payoff of views of Puget Sound. The Evergreen Geoduck Trail in Olympia is a relatively easy summer hike through the mature forest, with scenic views at the beach of Eld Inlet.
A favorite of students, families, birdwatchers and trail runners, Evergreen Geoduck Trail is doable in an hour or less, but you’ll want to spend some time at the water’s edge, so plan to devote at least a couple of hours there. There’s only a slight elevation on the trail, so skip the heavy hiking boots, but keep in mind that if the tide is out, conditions can be muddy at the beach. Open year-round, the summer season provides the best circumstances to avoid mud on the trail. This two-mile roundtrip hike is ideal for kids and leashed dogs, but keep in mind the path is dirt, so it’s probably not suitable for those who use wheelchairs or young ones in strollers.
There are several ways to reach the beach, but the most direct route is on the E1 Beach Trail. The path to the beach is downhill, and about halfway down, you’ll cross a bridge over Barking Dog Creek rushing below. The shady forest and cool ocean breezes are a great escape from the summer’s heat. Evergreen Geoduck offers a place to slow down and enjoy the solitude in a way only the ocean’s waters can provide. Pack a picnic or catch a show-stopping sunset on the rocky shore for an epic adventure close to home.
Recommended by parents as a kid-friendly trail, even the youngest hiker will be enchanted with the towering trees, root wads to climb and poking around in the sand searching for small crabs, shells and stones. Reportedly, there are fairies in the forest, so have the little ones look for their houses tucked away in the green ferns and tree trunks.
There are many trails to add to your trip if you want to make it a longer hike. Stroll the shoreline of Eld Inlet to Snyder Cove or spend more time in the woodland area among the many paths under the forest’s canopy. There’s a whole system of trails at The Evergreen State College, including the East Campus or Organic Farm Trails. For more information, download the map. The College asks that you, “Keep Evergreen green, practice friendly trail use, please remember to scoop the poop, pack out what you pack in, smile at strangers and enjoy the green!”
Wildlife at Evergreen Geoduck Trail
Traversing through the stands of cedar and Douglas fir, there are plenty of opportunities to observe the area’s wildlife, and Evergreen Geoduck Trail is a birders’ dreamland. Find deer and other woodland critters nestled among the trees. In the forest, birds sing their songs from high up. At the shoreline, find waterfowl hoping for a good catch, along with eagles. Keep an eye out for seals and otters playing in the water, and if you are fortunate, you can even spot whales. Look for jellyfish during the day and if the conditions are right, find tiny bioluminescent creatures glowing in the water at night. And yes, the famed massive burrowing clams, Geoducks, do live in the waters of Eld Inlet.
Getting to Evergreen Geoduck Trail
From I-5, use exit 104 for Highway 101 north and continue about three miles. Exit toward Mud Bay Road, following signs for The Evergreen State College. Continue onto Evergreen Parkway NW to Overhulse Place, then turn left onto Driftwood Road NW and proceed to Parking Lot F. Parking is free on the weekends and just $2 during weekdays.
The diverse landscape of Olympia offers outdoor opportunities galore. From the forests to the sound, there’s a multitude of ways to discover nature, get outside and spend summertime exploring. Take a hike on the Evergreen Geoduck Trail in Olympia for a quick getaway to the quiet beach, or spend a splendid day there, savoring the summer’s sweetness.
Get more information about outdoor activities by visiting: Outdoor Activities in Olympia & the Pacific Northwest | Experience Olympia