There has been a lot of new development along Hillhurst Road in Ridgefield. Behind the new schools and sports complex, a new neighborhood is being built, with a 2000ft path running around it’s west side. Eventually there will be more trail connections, including connections to the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. For now, this is an interesting place to walk just to see the progress of a new neighborhood being built.
This lowland area along the south shore of the East Fork Lewis River includes over 645 acres of land and more than 6 miles of trails. Other than from the river, the one public point of access is at the public cemetery located at the north end of NE 29th Ave. Parking is very limited, but fortunately I have never seen more than two or three vehicles there at a time.
When parking at the cemetery, the trail to the right (east) takes you down to the lowlands, where you can explore miles of trails along the river. The trail straight ahead past the cemetery (north) curves around to meet up with the other trail.
This area includes a campground and day use area. From the day use area there is a hiking trail that makes a 1.6+ mile loop. When I hiked this trail, I came across an incredible blue flower.
This is actually an as yet unnamed undeveloped park, but it does have a nice dirt 1/4 mile loop path for taking a walk. At the west end there are trails that continue into the forested area and some pastures, but these trails lead into private property and do not provide access to other public sites. A great plan would be to negotiate a right of way or land purchase from these property owners (4 would need to included) to create a trail access to the Whipple Creek Hollow Natural Area.
There are three entries to this area, two of which are connected by trails.
One entry is at the north end of NE 22nd Ave, and accesses a short (1/4 mile) trail that leads to Whipple Creek. When you hit the slope down to the creek, the trail splits. While it is possible to follow either trail, and then parallel Whipple Creek to meet up with the other trail and return to the fork, the walk along Whipple Creek can be difficult to follow, especially when the grass is very tall or the water overflowing the banks and there are blackberry bushes to contend with. When I visited in the summer I was not able to make my way through, but in January I could, since the grass was flattened down making it easier to find my way.
The other two entries are at the ends of 164th St and 165th St. A loop trail connects the two entries, and then connects with a trail that runs to Whipple Creek making for about 1/2 a mile of trails. There are some great photos posted by Michelle Rau on Google Maps.
One note of caution: The map at the 22nd Ave entry to Whipple Creek Hollow Natural Area actually shows a trail along Whipple Creek from NE Union Road, however, if you go there to find that trail, you will instead find a gate across the access with a sign that says Keep Out.
Not yet developed as a park, this site has a grassy field and a wooded area with some trails down to Whipple Creek. It can be interesting to explore the trails, just a short distance. Hopefully this site will become part of a connected trail system along Whipple Creek up and down stream. A trail that parallels the creek to the North leads into what appears to be a neighbors back yard, even though by the map it looks as though this should be part of the park property. Unfortunately there is no connection to the Whipple Creek Hollow area.
Small park with a dense stand of tall fir trees. About 1/2 mile of paved and dirt paths. In addition to the well maintained main park, there is a path that loops around the water tower, an area clearly used for BMX style dirt bike riding, and a series of dirt trails exploring the water bureau land.
This small neighborhood park includes about a thousand feet of paved path. While there is an entrance on 162nd Ave, the only place to park is along 159th Ave.
The vacant property to the south of the park, looks to me to have potential for a future expansion of the park. Perhaps it would be a good site for a nature trail and wetland restoration. Right now there are several unmaintained trails that reach into the site, but not anything I would recommended exploring for a casual walk. A concerted effort to clean up the litter and build trails could make this into an attractive nature park. I would guess that right now it is being held for future residential or commercial development.