Burfoot County Park
HIKE DESCRIPTION: On a clear day, the view from this small park near Boston Harbor includes the state Capitol building, Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains.
The park has 3.8 miles of trails, but they don’t really flow into one loop or point-to-point hike. Instead, the short trails can be linked in whatever manner the visitors sees fit as they explore the 50-acre Thurston County park.
The paths are dotted with benches, shelters and interpretive signage. An open area complete with playground is a good place to play or turn the kids loose.
A proper walk in this park, however, should include following the signs to a 1,100-foot stretch of beach on Budd Inlet. The trail here crosses boardwalks and passes through lush greenery before depositing hikers on the shore where they can see from Olympia to the Olympics. It’s a good place for watching the sunset.
Don’t wander too far down the beach, however. The signs can sometimes be hard to see, but the park’s beach is sandwich between private property.
DIRECTIONS: From Plum Street in Olympia, drive north as the road becomes East Bay Drive, then Boston Harbor Road. The park is on your left, about 6.5 miles north of East Bay Waterfront Park.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 1 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 3.8.
ELEVATION GAIN: 250 feet.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Year round.
MAP: Only an aerial photograph of the park is offered on the Thurston County website, but signs mark the trails in the park. The city of Olympia includes Burfoot Park in its regional trail guide, but a map is not offered here either.
ALSO: The 1/4-mile Horizon Trail is classified as an ADA and braille trail. Dogs must be on leashes and cleaned up after. Several geocaches are hidden in and near the park. Burfoot County Park is just a few minutes’ drive from the Boston Harbor Marina, a fun side trip. While the action is slower on the docks during the winter, the views are still nice, and it can be a good place to watch the sunset. The marina is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in the winter. The store has a reputation for its large beer selections and, if you want to put the brrr in Burfoot, a build-your-own cone at the soft serve ice cream machine.