Hidden Treasures on Redmond Ridge

How about a fun day trip that includes some serious nature and…shopping!? (Who knew bird-watching and boutiques could co-exist?) Pack the walking/hiking shoes, kiddie backpack, some snacks, (and a credit card) and head East to find your own treasures awaiting at Redmond Ridge.

Take 520-East to the very end where it drops you onto Avondale Road, follow Avondale then turn East onto Novelty Hill Road. After a few miles, pull into Redmond’s Watershed Preserve (there are signs) which will be on the left. Park in the lot (there are restrooms here) and then hit one of the ultra-easy trails leading right out of the parking lot. Two, mostly level, loops are perfect for tiny legs. First, the totally paved Treefrog Loop is .3 miles (fully ada-accessible) and is pedestrian only (strollers are fine but no bikes), taking you around a wetland where it’s common to spy a variety of birds, waterfowl, porcupines, and beavers. Kids will love the little bridges to cross and the view of the pond is fantastic. The Trout Loop Trail is .6 miles (but not paved so it’s better to hike this one without a stroller) and follows Mackey Creek in parts where you might view some beaver dams, and also takes you a bit further into the woods. The trails are interpretive with lots of signage to help you learn about the ecology.  If you’re a serious hiker, you can try one of the longer trails that lead deeper into the woods. Some trails are multi-use which means there could be horseback riders and mountain bikers too.

Tip: And, because this is “real hiking in the real woods”  folks, you may feel more comfortable in a larger group. It’s pretty remote feeling despite the proximity to Redmond (not long ago, this whole area was undeveloped woods).  There can also be occasional seasonal bear & cougar sightings in the area.  The Watershed Preserve is open from 8am to dusk, seven days a week, year round. Leave the dog at home as there no pets allowed in the Preserve.

After your tiny trek, continue up Novelty Hill Road and turn right at 224th into the Marketplace. Here you’ll find an Ixtapa (family-friendly Mexican restaurant) and a newly-opened children’s consignment boutique called Majesty .  Continue up Novelty Hill Rd a few more blocks East and take a right into the Village at Redmond Ridge (at 234th) for more dining options such as (the always tasty) Coyote Creek Pizza, plus familiar chains like McD’s, Starbucks, Quizno’s, and an Emerald City Smoothie.  Moms won’t want to miss their own treasures at the fabulously trendy Olive; a women’s clothing boutique owned by two Eastside moms.

Of course, you always begin or end this adventure with a trip to Farrel McWhirter Farm Park which is at the base of Novelty Hill Road on the way back to Avondale Rd.  Farm animals + swings = FUN!

-Angie J. Ballas