Outdoor Recreation in Lynnwood – Part 1

The weather is getting warmer, trees and plants are starting to bud and bloom.  That has many of us thinking about outdoor recreation in Lynnwood!  Lynnwood residents and visitors are fortunate in having many available trails, hikes and parks and other outdoor recreation possibilities.  These options are close at hand and convenient to the community.

Trails in Lynnwood

After a long commute, being at home or just needing to get outside there is nothing better than visiting a nearby trail.  It’s good exercise and a change of scenery.  But are you ready for a hike, but do not feel like a long trip sitting in traffic to get there?  You do not have to leave the area to enjoy a fun and challenging hike.  Lynnwood has much to offer for both of these outdoor activities.

Interurban Trail

The Interurban Trail runs through much of Lynnwood, meandering southwest to northeast.  Lynnwood has just a part of the Interurban Trail, which is a large, regional trail beginning in Seattle and ending in Everett.  The trail is largely grade-separated with some on-street bike lines connecting it.  This makes for a wonderful and often green experience for bicyclists, walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, and children and adults alike.  The trail is paved and has several guide posts to help alert.  There are various overpasses and underpasses, all to keep the trail as separate from local area traffic as possible.  You can view a full map of the current trail, including the portion running through Lynnwood here.


Interurban Trolley at Heritage Park

You might ask why such a right-of-way was available, especially in an urban environment that has gone through as much decades of development?  The Interurban Trail has a fascinating history that starts over 100 years ago in 1910.  In that year, the Interurban Trolley opened service, running the 29 miles and 30 stations between Seattle and Everett.  Automobiles remained a novelty during that time and road connections down to Seattle were limited.  The trolley operated for nearly 30 years, but soon faced new operating pressures.  Maintenance costs and the rise of the automobile meant rising costs amid declining ridership.  Highway 99 opened in Lynnwood, providing a new north-south route.  The Interurban Trolley closed in 1939.  Much of the line was then converted to a power line corridor, which kept much of the right-of-way intact for decades.  Starting in the mid 1990’s Snohomish County and local cities began opening segments of the right-of-way as a local trail. Efforts continued to expand until today much of the original right-of-way has reopened as a regional trail with continuing improvements and enhancements.

One such enhancement was work done in Lynnwood’s Heritage Park.  The Interurban Trail runs through this City park, which has several structures preserved to denote the area’s history.  That includes completely refurbished Trolley Car 55, a 1909 Intuerban single-ended wooden electric rail car.  This car saw service from Seattle to Everett during the entire duration of the Interurban Trolley.  In addition to the station and trolley, the first general store and post office in Alderwood Manor and related living quarters are located nearby.

Meadowdale Beach Park

North from Meadowdale Beach

Lund’s Gulch is located just north of Lynnwood.  This area is a local watershed basin.  The trees are mature, the undergrowth dense and the slopes steep. Lund’s Gulch Creek flows down to the Puget Sound from this area and is a highway for local salmon.  Since the late 19th century the has seen varied use from homesteading to a private clubhouse and fish hatchery to conservation efforts.  The City of Lynnwood has been proactive in purchasing additional land to aid conservation efforts.

Meadowdale Beach Park is located within Lund’s Gulch.  There is a parking and a playground near the entrance, as well as the start of a trail.  The trailhead is approximately 500 feet above sea level, but by the time you are done with the 2+ mile hike you are all the way down to the Puget Sound.  You reach the Sound by going through a short underpass tunnel with railroad tracks overhead.  This tunnel also serves as the exit to the Puget Sound for Lund’s Gulch Creek.  When you come out from the tunnel the beach is there to greet you and it is beautiful!  Driftwood is all around, as are lovely views of Whidbey Island, the Olympics and even Mt. Baker on clearer days.  But make sure you have energy left for the hike back, which will be going uphill to regain that 500+ feet in elevation!