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Originally published Friday, August 15, 2014 at 11:09 AM

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Kid-friendly trails: short, mostly easy, altogether beautiful

Parents are advised to pack lots of snacks and patience, and to chose shorter hikes than they might otherwise.


Special to The Seattle Times

MAKE A PLAN

The Washington Trails Association has more information on these hikes, plus recommendations for other hikes with kids at: http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/children/kids-hikes/hikes-for-young-children

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INTRODUCING YOUR kids to a love of the woods and outdoors sounds so perfectly Northwest. Yet parents know the reality is that patience and more patience are required for a trip into the wilderness. Still, plenty of parents take the leap, with a few caveats — choosing shorter hikes than they might otherwise, less elevation and packing a lot of snacks. Rewards include sniffing wildflowers, eating wild berries from the side of the trail and admiring a lovely waterfall or lake as a family.

Depending on how old your kids are, here are some options to breathe fresh air, move your legs and see the woods from a new perspective:

TWIN FALLS TRAIL

Location: Near North Bend

Distance: 2 miles round trip

Elevation: 500 feet

This classic waterfall hike is long enough to be a challenge for the parent and has plenty to keep kids interested along the way, with an ancient Douglas fir and a bridge. The trail features a viewpoint at .75 miles, a good turnaround if necessary, and ends with that stunning waterfall. This is a popular hike, so be prepared to share the trail. (The trailhead recently has been closed for repair. But an alternative trailhead is available.)

RED TOP LOOKOUT

Location: Teanaway, Kittitas County

Distance: 2 miles round trip

Elevation: 350 feet

If you’re looking to actually climb to a peak, Red Top is an accessible choice with a fire lookout at the top for kids to marvel at. Adults and the kids will have to work — the trail gains all its elevation in less than a mile. But the views up there are worth it, with a vista that includes Mount Rainier, the Stuart Range and the Teanaway and Cle Elum valleys.

TALAPUS LAKE

Location: Snoqualmie

Distance: 4 miles round trip

Elevation: 800 feet

If parents and kids alike are feeling more adventurous than usual, or at least game for a slightly longer hike, Talapus Lake is an option close to Seattle. This beautiful trail heads into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and there is plenty to see on the way to the lake. If you are excited to introduce your kids to the pleasures of jumping into an alpine lake, by mid-August the lake has warmed up enough to consider a swim. Or continue on to Olallie Lake for a full day’s adventure.

BOARDMAN LAKE

Location: Mountain Loop Highway

Distance: 2 miles round trip

Elevation: 200 feet

Boardman Lake is easy to do, and a great choice for young new hikers. The trail is lined with huge cedars, and Lake Evan is an early first stop. Keep going to Boardman Lake, where there are plenty of places to relax and enjoy water surrounded by wilderness.

Nicole Tsong teaches yoga at studios around Seattle. Read her blog at papercraneyoga.com. Email: papercraneyoga@gmail.com.



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