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Originally published Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Walkabout

Lord Hill Regional Park trails

Location: Snohomish. Length: Over 11 miles of trails. Level of difficulty: Flat to moderate dirt/gravel/rocky trails, often muddy. Setting Setting: Snohomish County's...

Location: Snohomish.

Length: Over 11 miles of trails.

Level of difficulty: Flat to moderate dirt/gravel/rocky trails, often muddy.

Setting: Snohomish County's largest park at 1,512 acres, this remote-feeling ridge is flanked by horse properties south of the town of Snohomish. The forested park perches on a hill formed by a basalt flow that rises high above the floor of the Snohomish River valley. The park's name comes from Mitchell Lord, a dairy farmer who homesteaded on 130 acres here in 1884. The old-growth timber on Lord Hill was logged by the mid-1930s. Note the large stump near the trailhead kiosk — it still shows notches hacked in the base, where springboards were placed for loggers to stand on to saw down the tree. The park's vegetation now consists of an open mixed forest of conifers and deciduous trees, and springs create many wetlands throughout the park (including beaver ponds). Wildlife within the park can include an occasional bear, cougar or bobcat.

Highlights: Large map signs and displays are placed at major trail junctions, but pick up a trail map at the trailhead kiosk (return afterward if you don't need a souvenir) to refer to if you get lost in this maze of trails. For a good 2.5-mile hike loop in the northwest part of the park, follow the Main Trail to the West View Trail to reach the Loop Trail, which encircles a knoll that lies 650 feet above the Snohomish River, with distant views of the mountains. (To extend your hike another half-mile, take the nearby dead end Devil's Butte Trail.)

Facilities: Portable toilet at parking lot.

Restrictions: Leash and scoop laws in effect. Some trails are closed to horses and bikes during the rainy season. If you encounter a horse, stand quietly to the right side of the trail to let them pass. Some higher-elevation trails have outcropping basalt rocks — good boots will protect your feet from bruises.

Directions: From Interstate 5 at Everett, take Exit 194 (northbound or southbound) to Highway 2 east, and then take Highway 9 south. Exit at Snohomish, turn left at the bottom of the ramp, and then head east on Second Street. After crossing over railroad tracks, turn right onto Lincoln Avenue, which becomes the Old Snohomish-Monroe Road. In 2.7 miles, turn right on 127th Avenue Southeast, then in 1.5 miles turn left at the sign into the park.

For more information: Call 800-562-4367 or see www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/departments/parks or www.lordhillregionalpark.org/index.html (maps and trail descriptions) or http://friendsoflordhill.org.

— Cathy McDonald, Special to The Seattle Times

Renton-based freelancer Cathy McDonald, a former geologist, has written about science and nature travel for 20 years. She's currently a travel guidebook editor at Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door. Contact her: nwwriter@hotmail.com.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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