Spring in the Pacific Northwest is probably the best time of the year. The weather warms up, the winter drear starts to fade away, and best of all, hiking season’s back.
Wanting to hit the trail, but don’t have a car? No prob. Starting on Saturday, King County’s bringing back its Trailhead Direct program, which shuttles hikers from the Puget Sound area to some awesome trails, like Chirico Trail-Poo Poo Point, the High School Trail, Margaret’s Way, and East Sunset Way. In May, the shuttle will also run to Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe over by North Bend.
Rides start at $2.50 and run every 30 minutes with pick ups from the Mount Baker Transit Station, Eastgate Freeway Station, and the Issaquah Transit Center. Get all the details, including updates on new trails, here.
When you’re on the trail and want to impress your friends with how to correctly identify the botanical beauty that surrounds you, we’ve got you covered. (Thanks to Stewart Wechsler, who leads the Washington Native Plant Society’s plant identification workshops, for these tips!)
Its official name: Trillium ovatum
Fun fact: These three-petaled flowers, which are often white, red, yellow, or purple, are one of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic plants.
Where to find them: forests in low and high elevations
Its official name: Gaultheria shallon
Fun fact: Salal is a shrub with dark, leathery green leaves. It usually has tiny white and pink flowers that blossom in the spring. It also grows edible, dark purple berries.
Where to find them: forests, coastlines, and rocky bluffs
3. Douglas fir
Its official name: Pseudotsuga menziesii
Fun fact: This conifer, which is found throughout the northwest and across the U.S., is the largest tree in the pine family. It’s also a common variety of Christmas tree.
Where to find them: low to mid-elevations
4. Stinky-bob geranium or Herb Robert
Its official name: Geranium robertianum
Fun fact: This plant, which usually has five-petalled pink or white flowers, is covered with short hairs that make the plant feel sticky.
How did it get its name? Because its leaves give off a strange smell that some have described as a mix of diesel and mint. It’s believed to have originated in Europe.
Where to find them: shady forests with damp soil
Its official name: Tellima grandiflora
Fun fact: Fringecup has tiny, spiky pink or white flowers. It’s also covered in hairs, which give off a sweet smell, and is also found in Alaska and from British Columbia to Northern California.
Where to find them: damp woods and along streams from low to moderate elevations
Heading down to Oregon for a hike this season? Well then you better mosey on over to our
rival sister publication, Bridgeliner, in Portland. Their morning edition’s got the scoop on the coolest trail plants you’ll find in the Beaver State. Check it out here. And go Northwest. 🌲