Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area Loop Trail is a 2.8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Olympia, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September.
The sign in the parking lot had a map and brief description of the area and trails. I hiked the 1.5 mile forest loop trail that consist of boardwalks, stairs, and ground. It is well maintained. Looking out at the Puget Sound from the Woodard Bay peninsula was my highlight. It was very peaceful. Numerous waterfowl and a couple harbor seals seemed to be the only things moving. I walked back 3/4 mile on Whitham Road to the parking lot. This road is blocked off to vehicular traffic and is ideal for strollers, wheelchairs, and anyone who doesn't want to walk in the woods but likes nature. I then drove across the bridge to the Chehalis Western Trail parking lot. Overlook Trail is a 1 mile crushed rock that starts at this parking lot and ends "overlooking" Woodard Bay. Not much more to it today. It was simply nice to be outside in the sunshine. I plan on a return trip this summer when the seals are birthing on the beaches of this conservation area.
Took the whole loop with 3 yr old grandson he loved it! So did we
Awesome display of west coast forest on mostly flat terrain.
It is a beautiful place that shares a not so beautiful past and how nature prevails....
Beautiful on a sunny day
A bit challenging for an out of shape, forgets she has asthma, chick. But beautiful and worth the stops to catch my breath.
What a great way to start the day! We took the loop trail out and then walked to see the view. The trail is well taken care of! The viewpoint is a great place to sip coffee and take a deep breath! We walked back on the paved road. We will definitely be back!
Nice area. Good variety between the hard road and option to take the 1.5 mile trail through the woods. Good view of the bay and nice wild life
Edit to the last post: it is a gravel road, NOT paved. Sorry for the error. I'm not sure how to edit the original post.
This area was 'upgraded' in 2015. The parking area is not very big, but I have never seen it full either. You have 2 options for the hike in/out. You can take the paved road or a nice little path through the forest. We like to take the meandering path on the way in, have a picnic, do some beach combing, and then take the shorter path to exit (the dirt access road). The old Railway and some other wooden structures are still in the water. They both provide some great opportunities to view harbor seals (on the shorter structure) and a variety of birds. Restrooms are available at the end of the trail. During the Blue Heron mating season you can look across the water near the trail entrance and see hundreds of heron and other birds. The trail on the other side of the water is the Woodard Bay Sanctuary and is closed during the peak heron time.
Haven't hiked in alot of years but this was a great starter. The kids even enjoyed it. Only negative is people who don't understand what "pack it in and pack it out" means. It's sad but unavoidable these days.
Fantastic place for a quick horseshoe hike to a beach area with picnic tables and areas to explore. On the way back you can choose to hike the trail again or follow a paved road straight back to the parking lot. Wonderful for kids.
Nice peaceful, easy trail. Well maintained. Started by following a paved road to the loop trail. Tail end at another point on the paved road and if you go left, there is a fun beach area to explore, some picnic tables and a bat nursery under the old railroad. Can't get close to it, but interesting to see and read about.
Good short trail run area.
As mentioned, you need a Discover Pass to park there, and it's only open from May to September.
You can either take the trail or the paved road to Henderson Inlet. There are benches at the inlet, a nice beachy area, and a grassy area with habitat information. It's a relaxing place to look out at the water.
In July/August you'll find salmonberries lining the trails.