Attainable island hikes for an approaching summer

As Bainbridge Island slowly reopens for business and operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, so are many parks and trails for folks to start getting out, just in time for the summer weather.

While many hiking enthusiasts are eager to get back on the trail again, the safety of the community must come first. To that end, the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District has laid out guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus while using Bainbridge parks and trails:

• Refrain from using parks or trails if you are exhibiting symptoms of illness;

• Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene before and during the use of parks or trails;

• Observe CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of 6 feet from other individuals at all times. If this is not possible, users should find an alternate location or depart that space;

• While on narrow trails, warn other users of your presence as you pass, and step aside to let others pass; and

• Follow all local ordinances and guidelines for park and trail use.

Here are a few attainable hikes for locals who want to start stretching their legs.

Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve

This two-mile trek off of NE Marshall Road takes you through some twisty roads and hills just to get there. As you enter the trail, the walking path is noticeably wide, offering folks enough space to pass without violating social distancing protocol. Beware though, this is a popular trail and there could be plenty of people scattered throughout the trail. On a hot summer’s day, this trail is perfect to keep you cool among the dense forest that provides ample shade. Hence the name, the trail runs along Gazzam Lake, a 13-acre freshwater wetland. According to the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District, deer, coyotes and even bears have been reported by visitors, so make sure to keep pets on a leash.

Manzanita Trail

Here’s another two-mile trail that doesn’t have any severe terrain to consider since most of the walking paths are flat with only slight inclines. The trail is in a more secluded area and with a narrow path and overhanging much of the sunshine is blocked, allowing for some welcome shade on a summer’s day. This trail is primarily suited for horseback riders as you can see the Bainbridge Island Saddle Club situated only a stone’s throw away. The beauty of the surrounding vegetation along this trail will engulf you, making this trek a photographer’s dream.

Hawley Cove Trail

The quarter-mile trail on Wing Point Way exists within the Hawley Cove Park which travels through an uphill forest and wetlands before reaching the shores of Puget Sound. At the top is 600 feet of boardwalk where visitors can sit at three viewing platforms and find impeccable views of Mount Rainier, Seattle and the local beach down below where the ferry comes in and out of Eagle Harbor. The trail system is located nearby from downtown Winslow and the ferry terminal.

Hidden Cove Trail

This two-mile trail can be accessed along Phelps Road NE. The quick and easy trek takes you through numerous gradients in a dense forest and wetland. The trailhead provides access to Hidden Cove Park and the Hidden Cove Ballfields nearby. Limited parking is available and the trail is considered dog-friendly by BIMPRD. The terrain is also ideal for mountain biking.