Exploring Henry’s Ridge Open Space Trails

On Tuesday morning I got together with two moms and their children for a casual hike. Our first choice of hike panned out (oops…a huge field trip was showing up!), so one of the moms mentioned Henry’s Ridge, which I knew where it was but ummm….had never explored it! It sits in Maple Valley, up high on a hill – and in good weather has amazing views of Mount Rainier. It came out of a little proper planning and heavy lobbying by mountain bikers to carve out a system. And to them, I say a good job. There is a street, SE 281st Way, that has no homes on it, and you can park on the street to access the area (plenty of parking space!).┬áThe entrance is very obvious.


Easy walking forest. So well-groomed the kids were running back and forth.


The pace of children is wonderful for spotting new things in the forest – a crop of mushrooms peeking through the decay.


A surprise waited for us – a lake (well….maybe it was a retention pond…but let the kids have their fantasies!)


Beyond the pond was a second, and much larger, retention area that hadn’t seen water in it for a long time. It had mosses, lichens and a fire pit, that was full of snails!


We decided to make it a loop and caught the fire road, getting a few sprinkles on us from the dark clouds above us.


The road led us to a very large “lake” that had ducks happily swimming.


To small children, this was the best part of the hike. A lake! Rocks! Looking into the water, I could make out that this was originally a two part retention pond, look left from Alistaire’s head and you can see the dike, which is under water.


It was a gorgeous spot to relax and have a break – and a snack. There were trees to sit on (they are there for mt bikers training), but make a great rest stop.


No one seemed in a rush…well….


Until the clouds shifted once again and the threat of rain got us moving, to finish the loop! And as we left the lake, just below us, a train headed across the state blew its whistle loudly and that will make nearly any child smile ear to ear….