Family Hike-of-the-Month: May 2023

Nisqually Estuary Trail

The PNW is turning towards summer.  Now is the perfect time to download our scavenger hunt trail map and head out to the Nisqually Estuary Trail.  

This trail is just a little over 4 miles long, most of which is a boardwalk leading out to McAllister Creek.  The trail begins at the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk, a beautiful wooden walkway that stretches out into the estuary. From here, hikers can enjoy sweeping views of the river and the surrounding wetlands, which are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, otters, and beavers.

As you make your way along the trail, keep an eye out for interpretive signs that provide information about the local ecosystem and the animals that call it home. You might also want to bring along a pair of binoculars, as there are plenty of opportunities to spot birds and other wildlife, like harbor seals, along the way.

One of the highlights of the Nisqually Estuary Trail is the chance to see the Nisqually Delta Restoration Project in action. This ongoing project is aimed at restoring the natural tidal flow to the estuary and re-establishing the wetland habitat that has been lost over the years. As you hike along the trail, you’ll see evidence of this restoration work, including new channels and areas of newly-planted vegetation.

At the end of the trail, you’ll reach the Twin Barns Loop, a short loop trail that provides even more opportunities to explore the wetlands and observe the local wildlife. The loop trail is less than half a mile long and is also rated as an easy hike, so it’s a great option for families with young children or anyone looking for a shorter hike.

Overall, the Nisqually Estuary Trail is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves hiking, nature, and wildlife. With its stunning views, easy terrain, and abundant opportunities for wildlife spotting, it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with the natural world. Your family will thank you for it!

Family Resources

Quest Trails Map

Scavenger Hunt Trail Map

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Nisqually Estuary Trail

4 miles roundtrip along the estuary - scenic views!

Junior Refuge Manager Program

Your kids can earn a junior refuge manager badge.

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