After your kids have seen what Santa Claus left under the tree, stockings are emptied, and bellies are filled, why not take the festivities outside and go for a hike? It’s a great way to spend some quality time together this Christmas, and who knows – you may just start a healthy family tradition. Here are some family-friendly treks you can tackle together:
1. Marquam Nature Park Loop Hike
You don’t have to travel far for this holiday hike. This 4.1-mile trail starts at the Marquam Nature Park Shelter Trailhead off of Terwilliger Blvd., just a hop, skip and a jump from downtown Portland. This easy and relaxing trail takes you on a short, scenic trek through Marquam Nature Park. The park is filled with beautiful maples and Douglas fir trees — a lot like the one in your living room right now, but bigger.
2. Elowah Falls Hike
If you want to get a glimpse of a waterfall for Christmas, head 37 miles east of Portland to Elowah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. This easy, 1.4-mile roundtrip hike goes along McCord Creek and gives you a great taste of the Gorge, without requiring a big time commitment.
3. Lacamas Heritage Trail
Across the Columbia River in Camas, Wash., you’ll find Lacamas Lake and Lacamas Creek. The Heritage Trail is a 3.5-mile gravel path along the waterfront that’s perfect for bird watching and burning off some of those Christmas brunch calories.
4. Tryon Creek State Park
If your Christmas tree isn’t providing enough green for you, head to Tryon Creek State Natural Area, located in a lush ravine in southwest Portland. There are several trails to explore and all different kinds of vegetation to admire.
5. Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Kids getting restless? Head southeast to Sellwood and let them run around at the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. This 141-acre wetland area is home to many distinctive types of birds and features various biking and walking paths for you to wander.
1. Discovery Park
The largest city park in Seattle, 534-acre Discovery Park is a perfect urban escape. Located on the shores of Puget Sound, this heavily forested park offers views of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. There are running and hiking trails and 2 miles of protected tidal beaches.
2. Seward Park
Feel like you’ve spent too many hours on the couch? Catch some fresh air in Seward Park, located just off Lake Washington. It has 300 stroll-worthy acres with a 2.4-mile bike and walking path, an amphitheater, beaches, and the Seward Park Environmental & Audubon Center. If you’re looking for a great place to run, Seward Park is the place. Check out our Seward Park workout.
3. Arboretum Waterfront Trail
For a short, sweet trek, park at the Arboretum or at the old Museum of History & Industry and wander your way down the marshy path about 1/2 mile to Foster Point. This trail takes you through the largest wetlands in Seattle, where you’ll see plenty of birds and be able to take it great views of Union Bay.
4. Golden Gardens Park
For a beautiful beach stroll, head to Ballard to enjoy this beautiful park. You can either walk along the coastline or head out on a forested hike. There’s also an off-leash dog area, so it’s a great place for furry family members, too.
5. Marymoor Park
If your dog liked Golden Gardens, they’re going to love Marymoor Park. Coined “Doggy Disneyland,” this Redmond, Wash.-based park is the best gift you could give your dog for Christmas. Located on Lake Sammamish, Marymoor Park has designated 40 of its 640 acres to an off-leash dog area that includes multiple access points for dogs to hop into the Sammamish Slough and go for a swim.
Do you have a favorite Christmas Day hike? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below!