Washington Hikes: Spencer Island

20190428_070253_LUCiDBrian’s birthday fell on a Sunday, two days after I turned in the final paper of my master’s degree program, so of course I immediately drummed up all of the fun weekend getaways I keep stored in the back of my brain for just such an occasion, ready to hit the road and celebrate!

Unfortunately (for me) he didn’t want to go away for the weekend—he wanted to relax, sleep in, spend time with his cat, and go for a motorcycle ride.

I was on board– if there’s anyone who deserves to get what he wants on his birthday, it’s my husband. He does so much for everyone else and is always taking care of me and Sep, especially as I’ve been working on my degree. From housework to emotional support to grocery shopping and cooking to editing my final papers– nothing would get done and I would be a complete mess without him. Thank you for everything you do for our family, Brian!

While I was fully supportive of his birthday wishes, I actually didn’t have a list of local rides we’ve been wanting to do so he suggested we check out Spencer Island, an area owned by the county and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife within the Snohomish River Estuary not far from our home.

We set out mid-day and took some back roads to the Howarth Park viewpoint, which is a small green space overlooking Puget Sound. It was a beautiful, clear day and we were able to pull the bikes out of the way and take a walk around.

It was a pretty quiet road and we only saw a couple of people—a younger boy on a bike and an older guy and his dog—while we were there.

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We continued on toward Spencer Island, which is a bit tricky to find. We eventually made our way under I-5 and back several roads to the 96-acre Langus Riverfront Park. There were pavilions with grills and seating, restrooms, and a three-mile trail that runs along the Snohomish river. There were tons of people using the facilities and walking and biking the trail.

The parking area for Spencer Island was down the road from the park and consisted of a basically unmarked gravel lot that could hold about a dozen cars. We parked, climbed out of our gear and walked down a long road toward a bridge onto the island.

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We crossed the bridge over to the island and headed south to complete the loop trail that cuts back across the middle of the island. There used to be a path around the entire island, but the northeastern side collapsed due to the dikes failing so you can no longer walk the full circumference.

The Snohomish County website has some additional history about the island:

Spencer Island lies in the heart of the Snohomish River Estuary, an ecosystem formed by mixing a freshwater system (the Snohomish River) and a saltwater system (Port Gardner Bay).

A dike was built out of earth and wood around the island in the early 1930s for flood control and the island was converted to agricultural use. Most recently, James Scott Rhodes farmed the island, raising over 400 head of cattle.

We had the trail all to ourselves—it was shady and wooded, and occasionally we would be able to look out over the island to the wetlands and boardwalks that cut across them.

Once we were on the southern side we were in much denser woods without much of a view until we reached the eastern side.

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We found the trail to cut back across the center of the island, which was completely exposed and sunny. There were a few more people out in that area bird watching.

The island is a peaceful space and I can’t believe it’s hidden in plain view from Everett, which is so big and bustling. I would definitely go back to explore the other trails as well as Langus Riverfront Park. Lovely area right in our backyard and the perfect destination for the birthday afternoon bike trip!

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