Bergen (2 years) is in the in-between phase in his hiking abilities. For me this is a nice stage to be in: Able to hike a good way on his own 2 feet, but still manageable enough to tote around in the carrier when his legs grow tired.
Another built-in adventure opportunity came along on a recent Saturday morning. We had a few items to shop for that were necessary for our upcoming camping trip, so we planned our shopping destinations around a hike I’ve been meaning to try out with Bergen.
I heard about the hike, the Swamp Monster Trail in Issaquah, WA near Tiger Mountain, from another Seattle area blogger, Joy Fitness and Style. When I learned that the trail was flat, relatively short, and included a delightful little story that unfolded along the way, I was sold. What a perfect place for Bergen to get some hiking experience under his belt!
While I know we aren’t going to exclusively switch to shorter more kid-friendly hikes, they do have their benefits and an important place in helping little ones gain confidence and experience with hiking. Here’s what we really loved about the pint-sized trail hike:
- A Short Trail Slows Us Down. The hike is low-key without any big destination to reach like a view point or special natural phenomenon, so that allowed us to take our time, and enjoy the scenery even more. We felt okay when Bergen wanted to stop every 5 minutes (or 2 minutes, or 1 minute…) to point out a spider, leaf or piece of dirt because we weren’t in a big hurry to get anywhere.
- Less is More. Because of Bergen and his toddler-sized perspective we got to discover things that we usually just pass on by. We let him lead the way, and he guided us to slugs, snails, special rocks, and even a robin’s egg. Sure we didn’t cover a lot of ground on this particular hike, but sometimes quality is better than quantity.
- Easier on Little Legs. This hike was a complete success for Bergen because of it’s lack of steep climbs and tricky terrain to maneuver around. Not having to worry about these aspects allowed him to focus and concentrate on the more important parts of hiking, like bounding down the trail full speed ahead!
- Less Crowded. Maybe we were just lucky, but from what I can see, these types of trails aren’t as popular with the “regular, kid-less” folks, so we got to explore free from the masses of people that tend to descend upon the I-90 corridor on the weekends.
Info to Know:
- The Swamp Monster Trail is located just off I-90 in Issaquah, Washington near the Tiger Mountain at the Tradition Lake:
- Directions from the Washington Trails Association
- Discover Pass (only $30 annually) or $10 day pass required for parking
- Out and back is about 2 miles.
- No strollers
- Check out the map at the trailhead and follow signs for the Swamp Monster Trail carefully. We ended up making a “wrong turn”, and didn’t get to read the end of the story!
- Trailhead has non-flushing toilets.
Do you have an easy, introductory hike near you? We’d love to hear all about it!
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