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My husband and I are always looking for nice little hikes in the area and on a recent drizzly rainy morning we ventured out to Juanita Bay Park in Kirkland. One thing we really enjoy is being able to visit parks in the area throughout the year. We learned long ago to truly get outside and embrace each season----that includes the winter!
I had read about the boardwalk connecting the park to the beach so I knew the wet weather wouldn’t effect our walking. We opted to park in the Juanita Bay Park lot and luckily snagged a parking spot right away. When we returned to our car a couple hours later, there weren’t any spots so be sure to keep that in mind when visiting.
From the parking lot, there are a maze of paved trails along the hillside that either loop around or dead-end. Some take you down to the water and a series of platforms that overlook marshy wetland. We ventured down each platform in hopes of seeing some wildlife. We were not disappointed as we saw turtles lounging on logs in the water as well as many varieties of birds and ducks.
We later walked along the boardwalk towards Juanita Bay Beach and read all of the interpretive signs along the way. It was quite an educational experience. We were even lucky enough to spy a Great Blue Heron hidden amongst the reeds just off the boardwalk. A couple, who seemed to be resident birdwatchers in the area, informed us that the heron is a regular visitor to the bay on most days.
We also discovered that the Eastside Audubon hosts free interpretive tours at Juanita Bay the first Sunday of every month from 1-2 p.m. You can learn about and view songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, amphibians, turtles, beavers, and other small mammals that make Juanita Bay Park their home. The interpretive tours are conducted by Eastside Audubon’s volunteer Park Rangers. The walks will happen rain or shine, and bring binoculars if you have them. No registration is required.
When we reached the end of the boardwalk and the beach side of Juanita Bay, the sun came out and so did the throngs of people trying to catch some rays. We enjoyed the warmth as we strolled the walkway that runs alongside the edges of Lake Washington. On this now clear day, we could see the tall buildings and the Space Needle in downtown Seattle off in the distance. The view reminded us once again of all the great explorations we have has thus far in the short time we have been here since moving from Montana. Cheers to the exploration opportunities to come!
We grabbed some lunch to go from Spud Fish and Chips right across the street from the beach entrance and found a bench to eat and enjoy the views of Lake Washington. The food was great. We figured it would be so since they have been around since 1953 – and the views were even better.
All in all, we had a really nice afternoon exploring Juanita Bay.
Visit http://www.explorekirkland.com/Do/Parks/Juanita_Bay_Park.htm to learn more.