Fernwood Park is easily overlooked in the heart of Maple Valley, Washington. It is barely marked, has no official parking area, and is mostly used by teens as a place to hide from parents. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit it. The park itself sits in the center of many housing developments, and is a drainage in a thick forest – because the secret is? That Fernwood Park has a tiny lake hidden deep in the forest.
To find it, the main entrance is off of SE 267th Place, a wide road with on street parking that can be had. Find it between houses 23018 and 23030. Walk across the land (it’s the width of a typical house there) and enter the woods on a trail, here it is marked you are entering Fernwood Park.
You can see the sign at the edge of the forest.
Satellite view via Google. The red dots are the entrances.
There is a second entrance off of 263rd Street, next to 23019. However…..
While there is installed a sidewalk (and bollards in front to keep out cars), this access points led to nothing. The neighbor had effectively blocked it off, and had a shed on what I would have sworn was city land. We took that as a sign that the 263rd entrance was not for the common person.
So instead we walked around, on 231st Place SE, to get to 267th. The sidewalks are smooth on these roads, and give a nice walk. There are two huge retention ponds in this section.
As we entered Fernwood Park, the trail went down and then up, and we wandered around back there.
And lo, at the bottom of it sat a tiny boggy lake. With plenty of mosquitoes in early summer.
The forest here is not manicured and unless suburbia is loud, it’s easy to forget you are in the middle of town.
The boys toddling ahead of me.
Red Huckleberry ready to eat.
We explored till we ran out of trail.
Being boggy there was a lot of moss.
And various ferns.
Always waiting for mommy to hurry it up.
It’s not wilderness, it’s not long. But it is a chance to walk into the forest and pretend the town is still wild.