Fun with the Kids: BPA Trail in Federal Way, WA

The weather is looking beautiful here in Western Washington and I thought I’d take my kids out for a nice nature walk last night. Do you ever do this?

100_8268 (800x600)If you live in my neck of the woods, can I recommend the BPA Trail in Federal Way? This trail snakes 7 miles through Federal Way and it’s all paved. Last night, I took my kids there after dinner for a fun (and free!) outing. Even on a “busy” day (say like Saturday morning), the trail is rarely crowded, making it an ideal spot for runners, bikers, and strolling families alike.

100_8273 (800x599)I asked my kids to identify as many plants, flowers, and animals as they could. Of course, we really came to keep our eyes out for bunnies! I said a big prayer on the car ride over that we’d spot some. (I figure if God cares about the sparrow, he cares about the bunnies, too.)

100_8275 (800x600)My son wished for “all the Lego sets in the world.” You’d think that this beautiful nature walk would inspire a less materialistic attitude, but just keepin’ it real.

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I kept my eyes open too and I think I spied red dead nettles growing in large clusters off the trail. I only know this because I took an urban weed foraging class last year through Seattle Tilth. I’ve been thinking about learning more about native plants and foraging, just for my enjoyment. Apparently these dead nettles come from the mint family and have a strong flavor, but I didn’t try them.

I did see an older lady foraging for fiddleheads, but when I asked her about them, I realized she didn’t speak much English. I’d love to know more about foraging for fiddleheads or how to cook with them! Anyone do this?

100_8279 (800x600)We spied a dry creek bed on our walk. The trail takes you through a couple wooded spots, so it’s neat to keep your eyes peeled for different plants and features like this.

100_8280 (800x600)Of course, it’s always nice to pack the camera for photo opportunities!

100_8282 (800x600)The clouds were so beautiful last night, too! I love when they make little “puffs.”

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After about 30 minutes, we’d still not seen a bunny and we were well on our way back to the car…

100_8296 (800x599)And I found this little guy, nibbling the grasses and blackberry leaves. (Hey! God answered our prayer!) If I hadn’t been looking for a bunny, I probably would not have seen him! Incidentally, if you want to look for the bunnies, I do recommend going in the evening. They seem to come out that time. And keep your eyes peeled – they can really blend in with their surroundings.

100_8303 (800x600)Of course my daughter had to try to get a closer look. That’s about as close as she got before he bounded off into the blackberries! About the same time, I spied another one hopping into the bush as a dog on the trail passed by.

100_8298 (800x600)Near the trailhead by the Aquatic Center you can take a little trail down to a lake/pond area. We did this just before leaving to watch the ducks. It’s a good thing my kids were wearing boots! It was muddy down there.

100_8299 (800x600)Kind of hard to think that just about a mile from here are tons of strip malls, a freeway, and several busy intersections, huh?

We had such a great time last night that I wanted to share it with you! I’d love to know if you have any additional recommendations of trails, hikes, or other places to take your kids for free in the Puget Sound Area to get out and enjoy nature! Please share!


  1. Michelle W says

    If you live in the Puyallup/Orting area, the Foothills Trail is pretty nice. It is also paved and runs from Pioneer Street in Puyallup through Orting, all the way to Buckley (I think). You can see a map of it at Also Point Defiance looks like it has a system of trails as well.

  2. Lisa B. says

    That looks like a fun trail, a good thing to do this sunny weekend! I will look that one up.

    We like going to the Hylebos trail off of either 348th or 356th in Fed Way, can’t remember. There’s a small parking lot and old log cabins next to it. We love it there, the last time we went we saw bunnies, snakes, a turtle and a chipmunk. It’s only a bout 1.5 miles or so.

    • Angela Russell says

      OK a couple people mentioned this on Facebook! Why have I not heard of this place? That’s not too far from me. I need to take my kids there this weekend!

  3. Melissa Larson says

    Its funny to think what motivates us to venture out when the rain stops. The BPA Federal Way is next on our list. Our family takes plenty of hikes/walks while geocaching in our general neighborhood. There are a few geocaches there we hope to pick up. Thanks for the pic with the boots, i wouldn’t have though to have the kids pack those. :)

  4. Catherine says
    This is a map of the chehalis western trail. It runs throughout Olympia/Lacey and apparently goes all the way to Chehalis. We take the College Street exit off I5 (exit 109 I think) and find a trailhead to park at. It’s paved and connects to a couple playgrounds too. I highly recommend it as it is clean and safe. Also the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge off of exit 114 is really nice too.

  5. jolene says

    We really like the Tacoma Nature Center. The have a lot of trails and a really cool playground. It’s out by Chenny Stadium and Foss High School. We go to Point Definace too. The zoo is the only part of the park that costs money.

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