Spring has officially sprung in the Puget Sound. Blooming trees and flowers blot the landscape in different shades. It’s a feast for the eyes! For an even better view, the Hood Canal area offers spring blooms along with the picturesque Olympic Mountains in the background for all residents to enjoy.
Start your floral journey with a trip to one of the most beautiful parks in all of Washington state. Twanoh State Park has been a sought-after getaway since the 1920s. The warm saltwater swimming and shellfish filled shores makes a great spot to take in the sights and sounds of the Hood Canal. Off the beaten path, the park boasts a hiking trail alongside a creek through the green, mossy forest. Hidden between those trees are blooming native plants peeking through the heavy forest floor.
Hop onto a new form of transportation for an epic adventure through 12 miles of forest scenery on Vance Creek Railriders. Ride the old train tracks in a pedal powered “railrider” to check out the scenic views through dense trees and blooming open meadows. While this is an all-ages ride, it is a work out! Pedaling down through Goldsborough Creek and back up the grade can really work up a sweat. Tickets for adults are $26 and children under 12 are $16.
If you are looking for a slower pace, take one of the many trails in the area for a hike. Check out the 500-acre Skokomish Park to see native plants in bloom near the shores of the crystal clear waters of Lake Cushman. The trails here are family friendly and offer many different routes. For another short hike, head to Staircase Rapids Loop Trail. Just short of a mile, this route boasts beautiful blooms along with hanging moss, fungi, and fallen old-growth cedar. Bring a swimming suit on warm days to enjoy the many swimming holes along the way.
For a retreat from reality, take a walk through Harmony Hill. Visitors are whisked away to a world of calm high above the icy waters of the Hood Canal below. The trails surrounding the area give an opportunity to take in gardens filled with native flowers. The retreat center also offers wellness programs, including yoga and meditation technique courses during the day or overnight. It’s the perfect setting not only to enjoy the signs of spring but also the quiet, relaxing facility.
Hunter Farm’s has been a staple of the Mason County community since 1880. Well known for their Christmas trees, the farm also has an incredible nursery. Native species along with colorful flowers that adapt well to the Pacific Northwest are available to purchase on-site. While you are there, be sure to explore the historic farm to take in the amazing views of the valley and visit some of the resident animals.
The opportunity to bring some of these gorgeous flowers home awaits in Brinnon at Whitney Garden & Nursery. Seven acres of gardens at the foot of the Olympic Mountains await visitors who are willing to make the trek north. The gardens include an incredible array of rhododendrons, azaleas, and rare tree species among lush greenery and quaint ponds. While you’re there, take a stroll through the nursery where staff can assist you in creating your own garden beauty to take home. The garden and nursery are open to the public every day from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Whether you are hiking among the native blooms of the Olympic National Forest or visiting award winning gardens, Hood Canal has plenty of options to stop and smell the flowers.