13 Sep The Best Suburban Trail in Kent, Washington
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If you are looking for a paved suburban trail that has beautiful views, runs along a river and is dog and bicycle friendly, check out the Green River Trail in Kent, WA. The Green River Trail is a total of 19 miles of mostly flat, paved paths that run from Foster Park all the way up to a spot called the Three Friends Fishing Hole near 196th St. with multiple, shorter loops to walk, run or ride your bike. It is kid and dog friendly but not too busy so everyone can enjoy their space. One of my favorite loop trails here, is called the Heron Loop which runs 4.5 miles and hugs around the Green River for the majority of the loop while catching views of the Riverbend Golf course.
Parking & General Directions
From your location enter directions on Waze or Google maps as if you are going to the Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent. There are several places to park near this location. I used the one right by the intersection of Reith Rd and Kent Des-Moines Road for this trip. It is a dirt parking lot on the left if you are heading East through the intersection. You can also park by the Neely Soames Historic House which is located in a residential neighborhood adjoining the trail.
The Heron Loop
I like doing the Heron Loop by foot because it is the right distance to complete in 1.5 hours while listening to a podcast. There are some areas that are higher traffic, particularly where the townhomes pictured above border the trail, however, the trail is so wide that it is still comfortable for everyone to enjoy. I would say about 3/4 of this trail is paved and all of it is fairly flat; a perfect beginner level suburban trail for any age.
There is a strong community vibe here and people are generally pretty friendly. I even saw this box of produce left out from one of the neighbors who have a garden.
As far as wildlife and plants, there is plenty to look at. New discoveries keep this walk interesting with each visit and I do see geese, hawks, bald eagles and other wildlife are regularly spotted along the river.
In this post, I’ll highlight some of my favorite sights for the day as well as some identifying landmarks along the loop.
After parking in the lot by the Riverbend Golf complex, I crossed a bridge over the Green River to take the windy paved path with sights overlooking the golf green on the right, and the river on the left.
Pleasant Views along the Path
The Riverbend Golf course is beautiful and has stayed fairly busy even during Covid. Along the beginning of the Heron Loop, I pass by multiple holes of this golf course catching views of the green. The walk is protected by tall fencing from the golfers but there are breaks in the fencing to get some great pictures and pause to watch the action.
After about three quarters of a mile, you’ll move beyond the golf course into a more open section of the trail with few large trees. This is the first opportunity to get clear views of the wildlife, so look around. I’ve been particularly lucky with birds: bald eagles feeding in the trees, hummingbirds flying by, geese swimming down on the banks. Many photographers bring tripods here to capture all the activity.
Look for the large crab apple tree and the Neely Soames Historic House which has been in its current location since 1885 and is one of the oldest homes in Kent. You can’t go inside without a booking, but you can admire the gardens which are upkept by a local gardening club. You can read more about this historic house here.
There are many dirt paths leading down to the Green River. I’ve seen multiple people fishing, kayaking, and just sitting down to relax. These paths lead down fifty feet or so to the banks. Use common sense and don’t try going down one of these after a fresh rain.
Getting passed the Detour
As of the time of this writing (Summer 2020) finding the North bridge to “loop” across the river is a bit more of a challenge. If you continue to the end of the paved road, you’ll see a fork that will take you left or right. Either direction will get you to the same place. When you hit the main road (yes, where cars drive), go left up the street. The road does not go through. take this dirt path for 5 minutes and you’ll find the North bridge to cross back over the Green River. I took a few photos of this minor excursion above for clarity….
Yes… you may feel like it’s the perfect spot to get picked off by a serial killer, jumped or otherwise attacked but I assure you, the area is completely safe; the Green River killer was captured in 2001.
Why you should walk this trail today
We all spend so much time indoors working, eating, sleeping and staring at screens. Our bodies need to move to stay healthy and interacting with the community, even at a distance can be very good for mental health. I wanted to share this trail because getting outside has helped me stay sane during a time when many of our parks and trails are closed.
Bring your dog. Bring your kayak. Find your spot. Have a good time.