As students return to their classrooms this fall, the Pacific Salmon return to our region’s rivers and streams—embarking on an arduous journey to spawn and complete their lifestyle. And you can catch a glimpse of these majestic water warriors and their extraordinary voyage home at locations all around the Seattle area. Click through the gallery for a roundup of the best places to take your small fries to view the spectacular salmon, plus special events that celebrate their fall homecoming.

Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail, Shelton

Just off Highway 101, between Shelton and Olympia, you’ll find one of our region’s most popular places to watch salmon spawning. During November, you can trek the half-mile Kennedy Creek Trail to visit over 40,000 chum as they swim back to their native waters. The large number of swimming salmon in the creek provides extraordinary viewing opportunities. Along the path you’ll find bridges and platforms your little ones can walk upon to get a better look, plus interpretive signs and volunteers from The South Puget Sound Enhancement Group to answer all your curious kiddo’s mind boggling questions. The free trail is open weekends in November plus Veterans Day and Black Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Psst… dogs are not allowed on the trail, so be sure to leave Fido at home.

Directions: From Highway 101 in south Mason County turn onto Old Olympic Highway. Drive approximately 3/4 mile to to the gravel road turnoff for Kennedy Creek. Travel a half-mile to reach the Salmon Trail parking area.


photo: Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail Facebook page

Salmon Watching Tips:
1. Spawning marks the end of the line for the Pacific salmon and there’s a chance you and your brood might come across fish carcasses while visiting the rivers. Be sure to keep curious kiddos from disturbing their bodies, as they serve a valuable purpose for our environment.

2. Everyone knows that kids attract mud, water and dirt, so plan ahead and bring extra clothes. Make sure the minis also wear boots or shoes that can be easily cleaned.

3. Get up close and personal! Bring binoculars if you have them.

Have you taken your crew salmon spotting before? Where is your favorite place? Tell us in the comments below!

— Abbey McGee & Rachael Brandon