Hidden just below a massive development sprawl in Maple Valley, Washington is the Henry’s Ridge Natural Area, a massive greenbelt home to many trails operated under King County. Primarily used by mountain bikers, they are open to hikers and are free to use. While a trail map does exist (inquire at bike shops), the trails show on Google Maps.
For an easy loop park your vehicle on the side of the road on SE 281st Way. There are no houses in this stretch, and a main entrance with a trailhead kiosk is here.
Follow the trail downhill from the kiosk and take a right onto Stinger Trail, which is marked. It is a pretty single track trail that crosses through woods.
Young children will love this easy loop. We found a few painted rocks hidden in this section.
Always look under the smallest areas for what nature might give you.
At the next junction, take a left onto Route 66 and head downhill gently to the retention pond area. There is a picnic table for relaxing if one wants to.
A moody day that threatened rain.
Little golden snails abound.
At the retention ponds an abovious (and unmarked) road takes off to the left of Route 66. Follow it.
It leads to the trail you started on, but also two more ponds, along with areas for bikes to do tricks on.
The ponds are home to many birds, including ducks.
Alistaire checking out the ducks.
The trail continues down the ponds, and wraps around the back side, then onto the trail to head back up the hill to the start of the trail.