With so many things to do on the Kitsap Peninsula, the problem is there might be too many choices. However, if you try, you can do all of them. At least once. Short on time? These close-to-home places offer fresh air and sunshine.
Green Mountain State Forest
Yes, Hurricane Ridge is an awesome hike, but there are just as many wonderful trails waiting for you here at home. Day hikes are a good way to relax, get some exercise and breathe in the fresh air.
While the trails are not usually long, there are enough of them to appeal to all levels of hikers.
For those who want to do a little climbing, then the Green Mountain State Forest offers a trail system that will take you to the top where you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of Kitsap County. No, it’s not the same as standing at the top of Hurricane Ridge, but it is a great way to spend the day in the woods. Plus, you’re over 1,600 feet above sea level with a great view of Puget Sound. You can even see the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier and Seattle’s skyline. If you squint, you might be able to see Hurricane Ridge.
Be sure to take a map since people have been known to wander off the path. It’s also shared with mountain biking, horses and dirt biking, so plan accordingly.
McCormick Woods Trail – Port Orchard
This gem is not in the park system, nor is it owned by the state or federal government. This 7-mile trail system is part of the McCormick Woods HOA that runs through McCormick Village Park and surrounding areas. It meanders through both private and public property that has been opened to the public.
The village park is managed by Port Orchard and features playgrounds, restrooms and other amenities. It connects to the main trail that crosses creeks, goes through woods, passes a big dog park and connects to a dead-end bike trail.
It’s considered an easy trail and mostly flat. Most of the trails do not loop so unless you cross over from Grouse Trail to Beaver Dam Trail or vice versa, you will have to walk back the way you came in.
Illahee State Park Trails – Port Orchard
Running out of time to do things, but still want to get out and stretch your legs? This park set on Port Orchard Bay is home to a short trail that can be extended to 3-miles if you hop off the trail and walk the beach before following an overgrown road back to the trailhead.
The official trail is only a half-mile loop, but if you add on some of the other trails, you can make this an afternoon jaunt.
The views consist of woods and water, but those are some of the reasons you walk in the first place. It’s a level trail, and there is a fee to use the park. If you have plans to come back here more than once, you might consider saving yourself a lot of money by buying a Discover pass.
Biking is a favorite pastime of Washington residents, and many places welcome you and your bicycle. In addition to the hiking trails listed above, here are some more options for you.
Looking for a challenge? Then take the Seabeck to Holly to Gold Creek Road route. This is a 40-mile loop that offers enough hills to make your legs feel the strain while delivering spectacular views in tree farm country. The roads are big and don’t have a lot of traffic on them, so unless you see a deer, you might not see anyone else on the road.
Port Orchard to Southworth is a flat ride that is a 26-mile round trip. The shoulders of the roads are a bit narrow, but if you ride in the middle of the afternoon, you might not encounter a lot of traffic. The gem at the end of the ride is Manchester State Park where you can spend the afternoon relaxing on the shores of Rich Passage. You might want to take a bathing suit along for a quick dip in the cool water.
Got kids and looking for a flat, fun ride that won’t tax everyone in your group? Then do a 5-mile ride along Big Valley Road in Poulsbo. The downside is that when you get to the end of the road, you have to turn around and ride 5-miles back.
Most of these trails are flat as are all north to south trails, but when you start riding east to west, you run into ridges that have to be cycled over, so be sure that all in your group are capable of the ride.
Use Your Equipment Properly
From hiking to biking to boating and more, you are prepared for the adventure by properly using your equipment. That is also true for your vehicle. If you’re headed off-trail, here are some tips for making the most of the adventure.
Tips for Driving Off Trail in the Backcountry
Use your 4WD in low gear as much as possible. You’ll get more power.
- Don’t straddle rocks. Find the high points before entering into rocky terrain. If you modify the trail, put the rocks back where you found them.
- Know where you’re going by walking the trail in advance.
- Assume the worse on blind curves and proceed with caution.
- Driving uphill can be tricky, so approach it head-on and go steady. Keep your wheels from locking up and never go sideways. If you can’t make it, back down slowly.
- Downhill driving is the same as going up. Go slow and stay in a straight line. Keep your wheels from locking up. If you do slide, turn into the slide the same as you would on icy roads.
No matter what the conditions, be prepared for everything from getting stuck to tipping over.
If you don’t have a 4WD or can’t carry a kayak or other fun toys, then stop by and see us at Kitsap Auto Outlet. We have plenty of vehicles that can take you off on your next adventure. From trucks to crossover SUVs, there’s something for everyone. We offer financing, so you can buy today.
Make sure that your vehicle is ready for your hiking, biking, boating trip by bringing it by and letting our ASE Certified technicians do a safety check. We’ll check belts, hoses, fluids, tire pressure and other parts for wear and tear. Give us a call at 855-983-7088 and schedule your appointment today.