Hike description: Millersylvania State Park is a day-use and overnight facility with many options for family (and pet) hiking. The Outer Loop tours the outskirts of the park along wide, well-maintained trails, through the wetlands draining Deep Lake, into some pretty big woods, past views of meadows and clearings, and among the shelters built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the ’30s and ’40s. It’s a fine hike in the winter when the usual crowds are gone.
From the last parking lot with beach access, start at the trailhead at the north end of the lot and head west, across the outlet wetland, with the trail often on boardwalk (but it can be muddy). At the edge of the woods, take the left branch and climb into some big Douglas-fir, hemlock, red cedar, and maple woods. Take the left branch three more times until you return to that point. Turn left again and follow the service road, avoiding the left turn when the gravel begins. Follow the road down to cross the creek on a bridge and stay left around the outside of the park, joining the down-on-its-heels fitness trail along the east side of the park, along the highway. Join the entry road, cross the parking lot and complete the loop along the lake shore, past the heritage picnic shelters.
Directions: Take Interstate 5 to Exit 95. Take Maytown Road Southwest east for about 22/3 miles and turn north on Tilley Road Southwest (Highway 121). You’ll be at the park in another 3/4 of a mile. Park in the last parking lot that has beach access.
Difficulty rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)
Miles round-trip: 4.2
Best time of year: Year-round
Map: Download the map at www.parks.wa.gov/parks/thumbnailAndmaps/4600042.pdf.
Pass: None needed
Also: Restrooms available at the park. Campsites can be reserved in the summer. Remember to always carry adequate and appropriate food, clothing and water. Trail maps are posted along the trail at junctions but hikers are advised to be sure to have a portable copy of the map in their pockets. The map available on the Web site is well worth the time it takes to download and take it with you.
Information: www.parks.wa.gov; “Washington State Parks,” Mountaineers Books
Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma and Olympia Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committees. For other hikes, visit www.thenewstribune.com/hiking.