If you’re on Vashon Island and you want to go for a hike, you need to visit Island Center Forest, which is right smack in the middle of the island. This is also a free place to visit. Therefore, you can’t make excuses not to go, such as you want to save a few dollars for your next pedicure. The forest is going to be a lot more exciting and memorable than a pedicure.
Island Center Forest Facts
This is a working forest in recovery. For this reason, some trails might be closed from time to time. Trails will also be muddy after rainfall, and they will usually be muddy during the rainy season.
The park is 440 acres with plenty to do. This includes bird watching (70+ species), dog walking, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and picnicking. In regards to hiking, there are ten miles of trails, which are divided into four trailheads. Those four trailheads are Cemetery Trailhead, Mukai Trailhead, Westside Trailhead, and 188th Trailhead.
The 188th Trailhead is the most popular. It has the biggest parking lot, and it’s a parking lot that can accommodate horse trailers. Since it’s also the most easily accessible trailhead, it attracts the most tourists. It’s the most easily accessible trailhead because it’s only .5 miles from downtown Vashon. If you don’t want to drive to the trailhead, you can walk from downtown.
Another big reason some hikers like to access the forest from this trailhead is because it’s near Mukai Pond, which is a wetland with colorful willows. You will also find picnic benches and shelters nearby, which makes this trailhead perfect for families.
The Mukai Trailhead and Westside Trailhead are not used as often as the other two due to their locations. As previously mentioned, most tourists use the 188th Street Trailhead. What was not yet mentioned is that the Cemetery Trailhead is used most by locals. It’s located at the southern area of the forest.
If you want to make the most of this adventure, hike north and then east to Meadowlake Pond, then west to close by Mukai Pond, followed by southwest to Judd Creek, and back to the Cemetery Trailhead. This should be about five miles roundtrip, making it one of the best things to do in Vashon Island if seeking adventure.