Hike Distance: 6.0 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 1734.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 855 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 226790 feet
We were headed out to a new location for a forest walk and found an active logging operation! It sucked, and we couldn’t go due to safety (and the area was closed). So, my son found that Seaquest State Park was close by, and we drove out there.
We parked at the east end of the Mt. St. Helens Visitor’s Center, which is within the park. We parked at this location as it’s located next to a tunnel that connects the visitor center to the northern section of the park. It will become obvious why we parked here, from the trip report. Note that this park is on the NW corner of Silver Lake.
There is a marsh with a one mile boardwalk/trail located just south of the parking area. This small loop trail is nothing short of fantastic, and is worth coming out here just for the stellar views! We traversed this loop and really enjoyed the views of the marsh, Silver Lake and the surrounding hills. It was a bit disappointing to see duck hunters, putting down decoys, just off the trail. Just to repeat, I have nothing against responsible hunting, but there are NO HUNTING signs on both ends of the trail, and this is a State Park, which NEVER allows hunting!!! I went in the visitor center to report this violation, and was greeted by employees that showed no concern and were indifferent, and mentioned they were shooting all morning. They said the’d report it to the park rangers, but we still heard shots after we left. My grievance is that people need places where they don’t have to be around hunters, or gun shooting, and where they can feel safe. We often go to state parks during hunting season for this reason alone. It’s not asking much to have a few outdoor safe zones for people/families that want to enjoy the outdoors without the risk of getting shot, and state parks are usually those places!
After completing the small loop hike, we headed out to the tunnel to access the trail system on the northern end of this park. The trail system on the north side is much more extensive, and there’s plenty to explore. 🙂 There are maps on the trail, and you’ll need to use them to get around. I couldn’t explain the contorted path we took, but suffice it to say that we looped around the boundary of the park and also hiked a few of the side trails. There is a camping area in the park, and the trails seem to go off, like in wheel spokes from this area.
The forest in the park is in very good shape, with a very healthy forest, and lush under story. The state park has been working on improving this forest, and it shows. There is no ivy, that I remember, crawling up the trees, which is amazing. Most of the trails are clear and easy to navigate. There are a few roads in the park that are used like trails, so don’t be surprised.
I wanted to go at least seven miles, but it was late, and getting dark. This area is definitely worth visiting, if for nothing else than the small loop hike near the visitor center!