We’ll all miss the thrill of massive fireworks, but we can still celebrate the holiday basking in the sunshine and practicing safe social distancing in the great outdoors. With the help of Craig Romano’s, Urban Trails: Kitsap, we’ve put together a list of places in the woods or on the water to explore on over the holiday weekend or anytime.
Because Kitsap Peninsula trails start at a lower elevation, routes are accessible year-round and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Nearly all are both family and pet friendly and are less crowded than parks and trails in urban areas making it easy to maintain safe-social distance while enjoy family outings. You can find Craig’s guide book online and in-store at Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, Ballast Book Company in Bremerton, Eagle Harbor Book Co. on Bainbridge Island, Barnes & Noble in Silverdale, and online at Mountaineer Books.
Take A Ride on the 371 Mile Kitsap Peninsula National Water Trails – Another great way to maintain safe social distancing is to take a ride with family or friends on the Kitsap Peninsula National Water Trails. You’ll find dozens of public accessible places around the Kitsap Peninsula to launch your kayak, SUP or other watercraft. The KPNWT is a great place to safely explore the region’s natural environment, view wildlife and enjoy cool breezes. You can find public accessible launch sites locations using the interactive map on the KPNWT website. If you’re want to rent a kayak or SUP, sign-up online at Olympic Outdoor Center for pick up at their rental locations in Poulsbo, Old Town Silverdale, or Port Gamble.
Below are just a few descriptions of trails listed in Craig’s guide book ready for you and your family to explore on the Kitsap Peninsula during the summer, fall and all year round. Visit the VKP website to find more Kitsap Peninsula Public Parks & Trails, Outdoor Recreation activities. And after working up an appetite and thirst, visit our new KitsapBites.com website to find places to Eat & Drink.
- Guillemot Cove Nature Reserve – This family-friendly Seabeck gem pictured at the top shows off the Kitsap Peninsula’s “wild side” with four miles of trails, stunning views of the Olympic Mountains, a large beach and a historic cedar stump house.
- Hansville Greenway and Community Trails – More than eight miles of trails take you from Puget Sound to the Hood Canal. Along the way, you’ll pass Otter Meadow, Hawk’s Ponds and Buck Lake. There’s even a connector route to Point No Point County Park and Lighthouse.
- Grand Forest Park – This popular Bainbridge Island park has well-maintained trails through a mature evergreen forest that includes “ferny gulches, babbling brooks and wetland pools.” The 1.2-mile Main Loop in Grand Forest West is a kid-friendly choice.
- Best short hike: Manchester State Park, Port Orchard; Theler Wetlands, Belfair; Fish Park, Poulsbo – These short, relatively flat routes are great for all ages and abilities.
- Best long hike: Green Mountain State Forest, Bremerton; Banner Forest Heritage Park, Port Orchard; Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park and Hansville Greenway are trail systems you can spend a lot of time exploring.
- Best for kids: Theler Wetlands, Belfair – There’s a learning center, boardwalks, a short loop and gorgeous views. Also try, Guillemot Cove, Seabeck; Clear Creek Trail, Silverdale; Foulweather Bluff Preserve, Hansville.
- Dog-friendly – Most Kitsap Peninsula trails allow dogs on a leash. Rotary Bark Park, Gig Harbor, which includes an off-leash area, is a favorite of Romano’s, as is Hansville Greenway.
- Most scenic – Guillemot Cove, Seabeck; Foulweather Bluff, Hansville; Anderson Point, Olalla, and Penrose Point State Park, Key Peninsula, are all gorgeous. Mountains + water views = ahhh!
- Best beach hike: Anderson Point, Olalla, is one of the nicest sandy beaches around with a view of Mount Baker and Vashon Island. Also try Foulweather Bluff and Point No Point, Hansville; Fort Ward, Bainbridge Island; Maple Hollow Park, Key Peninsula.
- Best hike in the woods: Guillemot Cove, Seabeck; Twanoh State Park, Union; Grand Forest, Bainbridge Island, and Green Mountain, Bremerton, all have glorious mature trees.
- Best urban hike: Clear Creek Trail, Silverdale, wends its way through the heart of the Kitsap Peninsula’s commercial shopping area and connects wetlands and historic farmland with Dyes Inlet and Old Town Silverdale.
- Best rhodie hike – Look for Washington’s beloved state flower at Keta Legacy Foundation Rhododendron Preserve, Bremerton. The 180-acre preserve includes old-growth forest and the famed “Big Tree,” a Douglas fir with a trunk over 30 feet around. Also try Twanoh State Park, Union; Green Mountain, Bremerton; Banner Forest, Port Orchard; Guillemot Cove, Seabeck; Anderson Landing Park, Silverdale.
With so many amazing hikes in the Kitsap Peninsula region, you’ll want to spend at least a couple of days exploring. Go to VisitKitsap.com for lodging options and even more to do on the Natural Side of Puget Sound. Stay safe!