Four reasons to skip the Des Moines Creek Trail

Table of Contents

I want to start this post by saying that I recommend this trail for locals only. I drove about twenty minutes up from Federal Way to get to this trail then spent another half hour finding parking. There are many trails closer to the Federal Way area that I prefer despite the creek and natural beauty that runs along the trail. Here are four reasons why you should skip the Des Moines Creek Trail in Washington. 

Scarce Parking

When I Googled my journey I initially arrived at the wrong location close to the Des Moines Library and drove in circles until I found the East entrance off 200th street. I was relieved when I found it, as it is easy to miss, until I realized the parking lot was full and I was back to driving around in circles around the neighborhood. Once I pulled over and found the entrance on the opposite end of the 3.9 mile trail by the marina, I was able to find a good spot to park though over half the lot was taped off from parking access. 

If you do decide to try this trail, pay the $2 and start off at the trail entrance by the Marina, it’ll save you about 30 minutes of looking for parking. Google “Des Moines Beach Park” and you’ll find the correct location.

Heavy Traffic & Noise

forest view at des moines creek trail
Just look at the forest and try to ignore the airplanes flying overhead.

One feature of a good trail in my opinion is being able to reconnect to nature. To accomplish that, I prefer trails with at least a little peace and quiet. This trail is not that. During the entire 4 mile walk there was always someone around me along with airplanes passing overhead, dogs barking and people talking on their cell phones. 

So while the vegetation around you is quite beautiful… be sure to bring your earphones and play some loud music to drown out the noise. 

The Sewer Plant

sewer giph from giphy

Get ready to hold your nose because you will be walking by something very smelly. That’s right, the Des Moines Creek Treatment Plant runs right next to the trail interrupting any false sense of “being part of nature” that you thought you might have. This plant has the ability to process over 9 million gallons of waste water per day and you get to walk right by it!

People are Less Friendly

I can’t say I blame them. There are so many people on this trail, it would be exhausting to exchange pleasantries or even a smile at each fellow suburban “hiker” on this trail. I think most people just want to be left alone after the first mile. My advice? Pick a different trail. 

Why Locals Only?

Despite my overall displeasure about my experience on this trail, I can see why locals to Des Moines would enjoy coming here to walk their dog and hang out at the marina. It is quite pleasant to start and end the walk overlooking the beautiful Puget Sound so long as you temper your expectations in a way that I did not. Given the choice, I would not repeat my journey on this trail. If you want to check out my favorite trail nearby, check out my post on the Green River Trail here

If you want a very different perspective on this trail check out Lydia’s Blog about Des Moines Creek Trail. It’s always good to contrast positive and negative reviews about a location and why. If you found this post helpful or have something to add about this trail, please leave a comment. 

Jenn Miller

Jenn Miller

Jenn is a visual artist currently living in Seattle, WA. Her work is inspired by the geometric patterns and beauty found in nature. She is an avid hiker and loves to share her experiences through pen and paint brush.

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