HIKE DESCRIPTION: Tucked away in Steilacoom is a lush green patch of woods and wetlands ideal for a quick hike or jog.
Farrell’s Marsh has about 3,500 feet of freshwater shoreline and a collection of short trails that allow visitors to easily walk 2.5 miles or more. The evergreens reflect in the marsh, which can be reached from several viewing areas along the trails.
The park is bordered on three sides by neighborhoods and on the south end by Joint Base Lewis-McChord. While trails run along both sides of the marsh, the fenced and off-limits JBLM land prevents a loop hike.
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The marsh can be a good spot for viewing waterfowl. The town of Steilacoom’s website says great blue herons and kingfishers are among the birds visitors might see.
The website also says visitors might find remnants of the past. Wagon ruts from more than 150 years ago can be seen by “anyone who takes time to meander the marsh’s several pathways.” We didn’t see them on a recent trip, perhaps because we spent too much time on less historic pursuits: Snapping selfies from a bridge and on benches on the west side of the marsh.
DIRECTIONS: From Rainier Street in Steilacoom, turn southwest on Pacific Street. Turn right on Nisqually Street and then left on Chambers Street. Follow Chambers to the small parking area at the trailhead.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 2.5.
ELEVATION GAIN: Mostly flat.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Year-round.
MAP: A map is posted at the trailhead.
ALSO: The park is open from dawn to dusk. It is bordered by private property, and visitors are asked to stick to the park trails. Be careful as you wander. On a recent trip we found signs of a makeshift camp, even though camping is not permitted in the park. The trails can be muddy in winter and spring. The trails are open to bikes. Dogs are permitted, but must be on a leash, and owners should clean up after them. There are geocaches hidden in the park. For more information, visit geocaching.com.