Winter walking in the great outdoors without snowshoes or a four-wheel-drive vehicle can prove to be a challenge this time of year. Luckily, Snohomish County is plentiful in natural beauty. Within easy driving distance, you can take a seaside walk, visit a hidden waterfall, or enjoy an island, all without lacing up your snow boots. Grab the kids, including the family dog, as these five nature hikes in Snohomish County, are dog-friendly and enjoyable for all ages and most ability levels.

Meadowdale Beach Park

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Kids will love to explore the old train tracks near the Al Borlin Loop Trail in Monroe. Photo credit: Julia Fiene Bowman

Meadowdale Beach Park, located near Lynnwood, is a favorite for local families. Pack a picnic or thermos of hot cocoa and meander down the heavily forested one-mile path to the beach. There is a large swath of beach to explore where families can enjoy beachcombing, a picnic, or take a rest and enjoy the view before the walk back to the trailhead.

Although this is a relatively easy hike, the walk back to the trailhead is a gradual uphill climb, so that the littlest hikers may need some breaks along the way. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed. Bring the whole family out to enjoy a salty seaside adventure this winter.

Explorer Falls

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Take a break and enjoy the rushing waterfalls at the end of the Explorer Falls hike near Everett. Photo credit: Julia Fiene Bowman

Explorer Falls, located near Everett, offers hikers a beautiful waterfall destination without having to brave the snowy mountains this time of year. What makes this 5.3-mile hike into an adventure is that the waterfall is hidden and must be found by the adventurous sort. The walk begins on an old logging road and continues through a heavily forested area where kids can look for wildlife or marvel at the giant banana slugs carpeting the ground this time of year.

After walking about 2.5 miles, hikers will hear a stream and know they have almost reached their magical destination. The path to the foot of the falls is unmarked but very accessible. Follow your ears, and the stream will lead you to the cascading falls where you can rest and enjoy the view before the journey back.

Al Borlin Park Loop

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Dip your toes in the Skykomish River or grab a fishing pole and enjoy an afternoon exploring the Al Borlin Loop Trail in Monroe. Photo credit: Julia Fiene Bowman

Al Borlin Park Loop, near Monroe, is perfect for the beginner or littlest of hikers. This 1.8-mile loop is short yet big on adventure and offers a little of everything to hikers. Families can enjoy wildlife viewing in the forested areas, explore the old railway tracks, or dip their toes in the rushing Skykomish River.

This hike is excellent for nature lovers looking for a short getaway where animals of both land and water variety can be spotted. Grab a picnic or your fishing pole and make it an afternoon outing if you have more time.

Riverview Wildlife Refuge

Riverview Wildlife Refuge, located outside downtown Snohomish, is a great place to couple with an outing to enjoy the many eateries, cafes, or shopping in historic downtown Snohomish. This two-mile loop features flat terrain, open views, and access to the Snohomish River. For those looking for more of a workout, try jogging it, as the path is clear of stumps and vegetation.

If an afternoon stroll is more your speed, this hike will not disappoint. Hikers will feel completely removed from the hustle and bustle of Snohomish while being within easy walking distance to downtown. Insider tip: Enjoying a piece of pie at the Snohomish Pie Co. or a cup of hot coffee at the Looking Glass Café is a perfect way to wrap up this hike.

Spenser Island Park

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Kids will love spotting banana slugs and other wildlife along the Explorer Falls trail near Everett. Photo credit: Julia Fiene Bowman

Spenser Island Park, located in Everett, is a must for water-lovers. Located in wetlands, hikers can enjoy birdwatching and marsh animal life on this easy 4.4-mile hike through flat terrain. Wide-open views make this trail perfect for those who enjoy landscape vistas of snowy mountains in the distance.

Boardwalks make parts of this trail accessible to most but bring rainboots when exploring this island gem as it can get muddy during the rainy winter months. On the way out of town, grab a steamy cup of coffee or a sweet treat for the kids at the charming Triangle Trading Post, a short drive away.

Being active in Snohomish County is easy as the great outdoors is located right at your doorstep. The area has all the natural beauty you need to make this winter one to explore from the salty sea to raging waterfalls. So, walk your way into a plethora of adventures this winter and enjoy all Snohomish County has to offer.

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