Trip Report: Clear Creek Intra-Urban Trail

Read along as Regina takes us on a casual stroll through the family and dog-friendly Clear Creek Trail.
Regina Robinson Regina Robinson
Olympia Branch Super Volunteer
August 28, 2022

Clear Creek Trail is an intra-urban, family-friendly trail located in Silverdale, Washington that winds through riparian zones, wetlands, and dense forests. This trail is open for walking, running, biking, or strolling leisurely with your kids. The best time to walk the beach is in the early mornings during low tide when you can observe wildlife and the many birds fishing for lunch around the estuary. My most recent visit was a quick jaunt with my pops and Bilbo the Adventure Dog to see the wetlands and the interior forests.

On this adventure, my pops and I only had an hour, so we parked our car on NW Myhre Rd by the Naturally 4 Paws. Most of the trail is either packed dirt or gravel, with a few boardwalks over wetlands and creeks. In the fields, you can often spot several large striped garter snakes. Although I know garters help to keep the rodent population down, they are still not my favorite to encounter. I prefer spying turtles, newts, or frogs, and especially enjoy seeing birds, fluffy bunnies, and fat, overly-active squirrels jumping from tree to tree.

Capture2.PNGBilbo the adventure dog on Clear Creek Trail at the NW Myhre Rd entrance. 

Dotting the trail are plenty of beautiful bushes, like salmonberries, huckleberries, Oregon grape, and trailing native blackberry. Trees like Indian plum, flowering currant, western red cedar, and many others tower over the trails providing shade and noise protection. Flowers like bleeding heart, vanilla leaf, nootka rose, buttercup, and dandelion add pops of color as you stroll. I was especially surprised to see Devils Club and Skunk Cabbage along the way, both of which were over four feet in height. Crazy and unexpected on an urban hike!

The trail offers multiple bridges where you can peer into the darkly-colored Clear Creek, which gets its tea coloring from the decaying vegetation and tannins leaching into it. As you continue down the trail, the vegetation becomes quite thick. Trees form a short tunnel over the trail, which is spongy and littered with thick leaf debris, remnants of last year’s shedding.

Capture4.PNGTea-colored waters from decomposing organic material in the creek. 

My pops and I quickly come to an area that branches in two different directions, and we choose the route that takes us through wetlands. I love hearing the birds calling out to each other, and the butterflies are too numerous and colorful to count.

Nootka roses grow up over the boardwalk, along with ocean spray, and tall grasses lean in to brush your legs. I'm thankful we’re walking on a boardwalk; all I can think about are the garter snakes!

From the boardwalk the trail turns into hard packed dirt with dense vegetation overtaking the trail. The view opens up to a lush wetland and a broad pond, ringed with tall trees and spikes of pink spirea growing through the rushes. This is a perfect spot in the middle of Silverdale to watch the birds dip and swoop catching flies, tittering their love songs over the sound of honking horns.

Capture5.PNGMarsh grass and trees hugging the boardwalk.

Just past the pond and marshy wetlands the trail dead ends at Silverdale Way. Even though this trail is quite urban, I feel it is quite special. Pops and I spend a long time looking at the trees, admiring their bark, needles, and birds roosting on the high branches, while Bilbo the Adventure Dog admires the squirrels skittering across the trail. In the distance I spot five perfect redwoods growing tall and broad. My pops tells me he has been watching these trees for over 30 years.

Soon it’s time to head back. Pops, Bilbo, and I cover a little over three miles in about 55 minutes. If you are ever in Silverdale and want a short hike please consider an adventure on the Clear Creek Trail – and be sure to bring binoculars to bird watch or observe other wildlife.

Lead image of Regina's father on the trail. All photos by Regina Robinson.

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