Snohomish River estuary is where the waters of the Snohomish River meet the salt water of Possession Sound, creating an estuary that was formed over the past 10,000 years.
In the 1930's a dike was built out of earth and wood around the island for flood control and the island was converted to agricultural use.
The picturesque barn near the entrance served many generations of farmers, and the implements they used still sit near the barn.
The island is named for John Spencer, who farmed here in the 1920s. Legend has it that Tom Mormon, who once raised over 400 head of cattle here, brought the barn in on log skids to its present location.
The estuary provides views of wildlife, routes for paddlers and kayakers, hiking trails and fishing.
Blacktailed Deer, coyote, rabbits, muskrats, river otter, and a host of small mammals and amphibians also inhabit the large island. There's a 3.5 mile trail that runs along the top of the dike that surrounds the island.
Conservation groups have placed nest boxes for wood ducks, and bat boxes also have been placed. In addition to birds and ducks, blacktailed deer, rabbits, muskrats and river otters are frequently seen. Spring is the best time to see wildlife.
From Everett, go north on SR529 (Broadway) over the Snohomish River; turn right onto Smith Island Road. Follow signs to Langus Riverfront Park; continue past the park to a parking lot just past the left curve in the road. Follow the gravel road on foot to Spencer Island.
- Hiking and Walking
American Legion Memorial Park
Located in the far northern reaches of the core of Everett (not really the suburbs, but certainly not downtown either), American Legion Memorial Park has largely been set aside as a golf course. However, the western edge of the park has a reservable picnic shelter, a playground, several sports fields, and a small botanical garden.
The northwest edge of this area has a parking area and picnic tables and benches that have a view of a small part of the Olympic Mountains, as well as a northern view that can include parts of the North Cascades under the right circumstances. Some of the picnic tables have cooking stands, but no shelter and no way to reserve specific locations.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens
Located inside the confines of the American Legion Memorial Park, the gardens feature a large number of different plants, and several demonstration landscaping ideas that work well in the Pacific Northwest environment. However, the actual space consumed is not especially huge.
There is only one entrance to this area, and that is from the main entrance to the American Legion Memorial Park entrance, and turn immediately south after entering the park. The small parking area to the south of the entrance serves the gardens, and the entrance to the gardens is a small arbor at the south end of this parking area. However, do not miss the small urban tree demonstration area that runs along the west side of the parking lot. This
Plant selection here has been very good, and blooms last until August (and thus are not just a springtime affair). However, the height of the trees to the east mean that the sunlight doesn't provide the full brightness of the colors until mid-day or so. If the sun isn't out, the cloud cover will provide some diffuse light so the problems seen in these photos (on August 27, 2012) with the majority of the colorful flowers being in dark shadow won't be quite as pronounced.
There is one half-dome shaped fountain in the gardens, as well as several other public art sculptures. Some of those are easy to find while others are somewhat hidden and much smaller.
All of the trails in the park, except for a short staircase near the fountain which can be circumvented using a different pathway are obstacle free for wheelchairs.
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Langus Riverfront Park
As you can probably guess, it so happens that Langus Riverfront Park is in fact located on the banks of the Snohomish River. However, it is not possible to actually get to this park directly from downtown Everett. Instead, you need to go north on Broadway / Highway 529 until you cross the Snohomish River, and immediately exit the highway. From there, there are signs pointing the way to Langus Riverfront Park, at the end of a dead-end road that is in fact located inside Everett, but can't be accessed except from across the river in Marysville.
The park features a large reservable picnic shelter, a number of smaller picnic tables, a boat ramp that works on a pay-per-use fee, a facility that is used for kayak and rowing lessons boat rental and classes, and a riverfront trail that runs along the river for a distance.
NOTE: Currently the riverfront trail is closed south of the park, until at least November of 2012.
To the south the trail is paved for a ways, but to the north the trail is not paved, and quickly ends anyways as it reaches industrial land to the north of the park.
The park is a reasonably popular place for fishing, and the boat ramp seems reasonably popular, especially during certain seasons.
Despite the park being located directly next to Interstate 5, the noise from the freeway isn't anywhere near as loud as I expected it to be. I think this is mostly due to visiting in the summer so that the foliage on the trees helped act as noise dampening.
Also, having visited on a hot afternoon, it was not that easy to find one of the picnic tables that had some shade. There was one near enough to a tree to have some shade on it.
- Sailing and Boating
Forest Park - Trails and Small Water Park
This little park is located in the southwest section of Everett, and was the oldest park declared in the city. It is located on a series of ridges and the trails through the forest have a number of steep hills.
On the flat areas at the summit of the park, there is a fairly large parking lot, a very popular but small water park and pool, a picnic shelter, a fairly large sheltered horseshoe pit area, and a petting zoo.
Despite the fact that the park is built on a series of hills and has had a lot of the land cleared off the top in order to create a parking lot, there are no good views offered from this park of any of the surrounding mountains or waterways.
The park, though it is only 197 acres, is considered to be Everett's largest park. However, this probably doesn't include the huge golf course that makes up the majority of American Legion Memorial Park.
- Family Travel
"The Undaunted Spirit" sculpture
Brown Bear Car Wash is a small chain of car washes located throughout western Washington. For their location on Broadway in Everett they chose to commission a sculpture of several brown bears to greet visitors to the car wash.
Sadly, the sculptures are very impressive but are best enjoyed by walking by them on the sidewalk, but the sidewalk is not exceptionally enjoyable due to the huge amount of traffic on Broadway.
Thus, I don't think the sculptures really get appreciated that often as most people just don't get close enough to them. Thus, I suggest trying to come by at relatively low traffic periods, such at maybe Sunday morning or some other time when relatively few people are out.
The sculptures were created by Lorenzo Ghiglieri, who was living in Oregon in 2009. See photo 3 for the artists statement.
The sculptures are located on the E side of Broadway two blocks north of 37th. This is very easy to get to from Interstate 5 - just take the Broadway exit and continue north a few blocks. There are also two express bus routes from downtown Seattle and Everett that stop nearby, plus several local bus routes that are nearby. Everett Transit bus route #8 has a stop right in front of the largest of the sculptures (see red and white sign just right of bear mouth in main photo).
- Road Trip
Right off of Evergreen road and 42nd street is Forest Park.
This park is a secluded park upon a hill away from the city that offers hiking trails, a playground, daycare, pool, clubhouse, and scenic views of the sound.
The park is fairly small but the paths are clear and their is almost never anyone on the trails.
The trails are not to hard, but hard enough to get a little of a workout and a sweat if you do the whole trail.
- Hiking and Walking
This is a real nice park to have a picnic in. it has poney rides and a petting zoo for the young ones. It also has an indoor swimming pool.
- Family Travel