Edmonds is known for its small-town charm and maritime scenery, but did you know it’s also home to world-class food and drink, lush parks, and easy hiking trails? In a city where the trees meet the sea, we have many ways for you to experience both types of views in the same day—and even on the same hike!
This guide focuses on nature walks that are family and dog-friendly, along with eats and drinks to grab before or to get after. You’ll see all the views that put Edmonds on the map on these moseys, and you’ll enjoy moving your legs while you’re at it. We’ve seen everyone from newborns in slings, toddlers taking the occasional tumble and elders with canes on these trails, so all you really need to consider prior to heading out to experience intrinsic Edmonds’s beauty is how interested your party is in participating. After all, attitude is everything.
If you’re coming from Seattle (and even if you’re not), plan a pit stop at 99 Ranch Market on Highway 99 to load up on fun Chinese snacks. If you have kids with you, set them free—within reason, of course—to pick something new that will be an exciting reward at the end of the trail. Make sure you have a backpack in the car or an easy way to haul nibbles down the trail to your first stop: Meadowdale Beach Park.
Oh, and please note that this guide is ambitious, especially if you have young kids, but we wanted to give you plenty of options to choose from. Whether you do one, all, or bookmark this article to revisit later, you’ll find somewhere to put a pin—guaranteed.
Recently reopened after several months of estuary restoration by the beach, this popular park in north Edmonds is your option for the ultimate trees to sea experience. Try to get there early because the parking area is small and fills quickly, especially on the weekends. It was originally designed as a “hike in” park, which explains the limited parking.
The 108-acre park and one-mile nature trail offer many points of interest: old-growth trees, a long set of wooden stairs built into the hillside, streams, migrating salmon, beachcoming, and stunning Sound views.
A Short History of Meadowdale Beach Park
What is now a public park passed through many owners’ hands before it served the people. In 1878, John C. Lund first homesteaded the site where Meadowdale Beach Park now sits. It was eventually purchased by the Meadowdale Country Club and boasted a clubhouse, rolling lawns, an Olympic-size swimming pool with bath houses, and a fish hatchery. That club closed in the 1960s, it’s said, because of road access. Remember the orignal “hike in” concept we mentioned above? Probably not great for growing a membership-based club.
In 1968, Snohomish County acquired the land, the clubhouse burned down in the ‘70s, and the pool was filled because it had become a safety hazard. The county built a safer access road and opened it to public enjoyment in 1988.
It almost sounds like a movie, doesn’t it?
Keep that storied history in mind as you weave through the trail, down to the beach, and spread out your snacks. You’ll need the energy stores for the walk back. The mile up to the parking lot often feels much harder than the walk down.
Still Hungry or Thirsty?
After you head out from Meadowdale Beach Park, drive down past one of our favorite places for a high-quality carb hit in quaint Perrinville: The Cottage, Community Bakery. Open Thursday through Sunday, Conor and his team of expert bakers will lure you in with the free bread smells they pump into the air on Olympic View Drive. If you’re an olive fan, you can’t go wrong with their Herbed Olive Sourdough. Kids always get a kick out of the perfectly-salted Pretzel Knot Bundle, which features multiple knots in a paper bag. And, of course, you’ve all earned yourself a Chocolate Chunk Rye Cookie.
Looking for a caffeine hit, too? Pop next door to Mel & Mia’s or across the street to Bistro 76. There’s also a fantastic barbeque spot a few feet from Bistro 76 called Fat Pig BBQ. If your stomach is grumbling for tangy protein, grab a mixed plate with the cozy restaurant’s famous baked beans before driving less than a mile to South County Olympic View Park for your next easy hike.
The flattest of the three nature walks featured here, Southwest County Olympic View Park is a 120-acre open space park that technically straddles the borders of Lynnwood and Edmonds. With two wide trails (the larger trail system is on the north side of Olympic View Drive and a smaller one on the south side), lush forest, and many different plant species, people young and young at heart—along with their pups—appreciate that no walk is the same here.
Another park with somewhat storied history, the space around this nature preserve was originally logged and used as both farmland and residential home sites. In the 1900s, the owners of the 120-acre parcel transferred ownership to the University of Washington, and Snohomish County acquired it in 1971. That second transfer ensured the land would not be allowed to be developed, and since then, Southwest County Olympic View Park has enjoyed the unique distinction of being the largest single parcel of open space within the Edmonds city limits.
Now, overgrown logging skid roads are hiker's footpaths. Pretty cool, huh?
As you drive toward downtown Edmonds, you’ll come upon Yost Park, one of the few large areas of native forest that remain in Edmonds. We’re lucky to still have access to it, given how heavily the area was logged in the early 1900s. Situated on Shell Creek, which was dammed to supply water to the residents of downtown Edmonds, Yost Memorial Park is full of everything from stumps and fallen logs to towering, native evergreens. Naturally, critters like Giant Pacific salamanders, Pacific tree frogs, nocturnal mountain beavers, Barred Owls, and Winter Wren are often spotted on your meandering walk through the park's trails. Careful on the boardwalks after it’s rained, though—they can be slick!
Yost Memorial Park is the only park in the list that has an active swimming pool, which is operated year-round by the Cascade Swim Club in partnership with The City of Edmonds.
Interested In A Post-Hike(s) Bevvy?
Yeah, you are. You’ve worked hard out on the trails! If you’re looking for a kid-and-dog-friendly place to hang a short haul from Yost, head down the hill to Brigid’s Bottleshop or Salish Sea Brewing Boathouse Taproom (kids welcome, dogs welcome on the patio). Looking for 21+ options? Consider Maize and Barley, Kelnero, or ChurchKey Pub.
Photos by Matt Hulbert