4 Kid-Friendly Hikes Near Bangor

If you have orders to Washington state, it won’t take long to hear about the beautiful outdoors and ample hiking opportunities. And while Olympic National Park is right in our “backyard,” you’ll find most trips from central Kitsap County require at least a 90 minute drive. And if you have littles, that’s a very long day trip.

The good news? When you can’t get away for a weekend or overnight trip, Kitsap County has some wonderful little hikes closer to home.

Here are four trails to get you started:

Forest Heritage Park, Port Gamble

The Port Gamble Heritage Forest Park is a wonderful outdoors destination in North Kitsap County. The park features more than 3,400 acres and 60 miles of walking, biking and horseback riding trails. As the largest park in Kitsap County, it is worth a visit.

For families with small children, explore the Beaver Pond Loop! At 2.4 miles, the trail is mostly flat with only 147 feet of elevation, weaving in and out of peaceful forests, fields, and ponds. The terrain is mostly a natural, dirt surface with some wooden bridges. As we all know in the Pacific Northwest, be mindful of recent weather conditions and the potential for muddy trails.

There is an outhouse at the parking lot. Be mindful of timber harvesting, underway through June. Trails near timber activity will be closed for hauling trucks to come and go.

Address: Olympic Resources Trails, Kingston, WA 98346

Length: 2.4 miles

Parking: An unpaved parking lot is located off State Route 104

Stroller-Friendly: Yes, but better with a sturdy, outdoor-friendly stroller like a BOB

Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island

Toted as “One of North America’s 10 Best Botanical Gardens” by USA Today,  The Bloedel Reserve is a must-visit! Located in the heart of Bainbridge Island, the 150-acre forest garden was created by founders Prentice and Virginia Bloedel. Working with the rugged geography of the land, they artfully transformed a Northwest forest into a harmonious collection of woodlands, meadows and landscaped gardens.

With 150 acres and 23 distinct landscapes to explore, it’s a perfect place to lose yourself in nature. The loop is well-maintained bark and gravel trails and paved roads wind through the reserve. The loop is approximately two miles long. To walk the entire loop, plan to spend at least two hours.

We took our toddler back in October, and he just loved the sprawling property and all the trails, boardwalks and bridges. Keep an eye on their events calendar, during holidays they offer fun scavenger hunts and other seasonal surprises.

Admission is $15 for adults with military ID, $5 for children 5-12 and children under 4 are free. Timed tickets are required.

Address: 7571 NE Dolphin Drive, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Length: 2 miles

Parking: There is a paved parking lot and gift shop

Stroller-Friendly: Yes, but better with a sturdy, outdoor-friendly stroller like a BOB

Big Tree Trail, Bremerton

If you’re looking for a hike close to Bremerton, check out Big Tree Trail!

Big Tree Trail is a beautiful, urban hiking trail that makes you feel like you’re hours away in the Olympics Mountains. The trail is two miles out and back, perfect for children or those with baby carriers. The dirt trail takes you down a few mini switchbacks, surrounded by beautiful, tall, moss-covered trees. A foot bridge takes you over a creek and leads you to the trail’s namesake, a huge Douglas Fir over 30 feet in circumference. The tree is a sweet treat at the end of the trail. 

Another fun surprise is the “hobbit house.” If you miss it, the house is very visible on the way back. Dogs are not allowed, as the trail is located on a nature preserve and protected land.

Address: 300 Seabeck Hwy NW, Bremerton, WA 98312 (follow directions to Kitsap Forest Theater, then look for “Big Tree Trail” sign)

Length: 2 miles

Parking: An unpaved parking lot is located off State Route 104

Stroller-Friendly: No  

Explorer Trail, Port Orchard

If you find yourself near Port Orchard, South Kitsap Regional Park has so much to offer – from batting cages and skatepark to little hiking trails and a seasonal train ride (April-Oct).

I love to take my toddler on the Explorer Trail is a cute, 1/3 mile semi-loop with a series of interactive stations and obstacle courses that challenge you to see more, do more and learn more! Children of all ages can learn about the forest environment, perform simple activities and develop observation skills. My toddler loves the tree signs, the balance beams, stepping stones and drawbridge.

The trail construction and signage was funded with a grant from the National Park and Recreation Association and Walt Disney World, as well as support from local businesses.

Address: 3101 SE Marbeth Ln, Port Orchard, WA 98366

Length: 1/3 mile

Parking: There’s a partially paved parking lot just inside the entrance of the park

Stroller-Friendly: Yes, but only a sturdy, outdoor-friendly stroller like a BOB

What local hiking trails do you love? Comment below!

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