Kent Things to Do
While this area is owned and maintained by the City of Kent, the Rainier Audubon Society has a lot of good information about this spot, including a very nice detailed list of birds seen since 1999. Thus, though their web site is not the official web site of the owner / maintainer of the location, they certainly deserve to have the link shown below as they are the best source of information.
As a natural area, jogging, dogs, and other activities that would disturb wildlife are prohibited here.
The area was once the sewage treatment lagoons for the city of Kent. This was replaced and modernized some years ago to turn it into a combined storm water and sewage treatment works with wetlands habitat for wildlife, especially bird life. The new habitat area is approximately 304 acres (123 hectares) with some dirt trails to access the location. In several spots, there are viewing towers which allow for wonderful viewing of the surrounding area. Bring your scope and other telephoto equipment, as from the towers you might be able to see some of the wildlife without getting too close to them. As seen in photo 5, things are quite distant from the trails and observation platforms.
There is access from two different points. The south side, which consists of a tower, a very short trail, and a portable toilet, connects to the Puget Sound Energy Trail between Russell Road and 64th Avenue S. This does not directly connect to any of the other areas of the Natural Area. The main parking area is accessed from Russell Road, where there is a parking area. There appear to be about 1.5 miles / 2 km of trails looping through the Natural Area, most of which are light gravel with weeds growing on them.
The ecosystem here does not appear to be one in which many birds winter. There may be some out on the ponds but they are quite distant. On a winter visit in January of 2012 I saw two bald eagles, one great blue heron, and two common mergansers along the Puget Sound Energy Trail near the entrance to the Natural Area, but nothing in this area itself - but a first visit to a place like this only serves as a good introduction. A visit in August of 2012 yielded a number of American Goldfinches thriving on the thistle seeds and traveling in a very large flock, but not much else. Wild animals are, after all, wild and unpredictable and therefore these just could have been a bad day to look for birds and other wildlife.
Much of the space is cut off from public access as it is a wildlife sanctuary. The trails are for public use, but it is required that people stay on the trails.
The area is surrounded by mostly modern industrial land, with quite a lot of commercial debris scattered around. This makes the area not especially scenic. It is OK to come here to try to find bird life, but don't expect lots of scenic wildlands here. It is a suburban tangle and the surrounding area is commercial land with a lot of trash, and it is especially bad along the Puget Sound Energy Trail where the surrounding warehouses have deposited various debris behind their buildings.
The one bright spot in this surroundings, other than the Natural Area itself, is the view of Mount Rainier from inside the natural area. See photo 4.
The area is bordered on the south by the Puget Sound Energy Pedestrian and Bike Trail, which is one of the easy points from which to access it. However, the only area from which you can access this from the PSE trail is a short trail to one of the observation towers. The rest of the area, as well as the main trail for wildlife viewing, must be accessed from the northwest side of the natural area.
The hours, unfortunately, are very strange. They are listed on the signs as "Summer Hours: Tuesday Through Friday, 10AM - Dusk, Saturday and Sunday, 9AM to Dusk". The sign I found does not say anything about winter hours. One of the reasons these hours seem strange to me is that it seems to assume that somehow the wildlife needs to sleep in during the weekdays, but it is OK to disturb it earlier in the day on weekends. I'm sure there is a reason for these odd hours, but the reason certainly isn't obvious to me.
More information is available on the web site listed below, as well as the city of Kent official web site for the location:
My travelogue called "Winter Along the Green River" features photos from my first visit to the area, but the photos there are along the Green River Trail and the Puget Sound Energy Trail, as there was no bird or other wildlife visible inside the Green River Natural Area itself on that day.
How to Get Here: There is an outdated set of instructions floating about on how to get here. These instructions advise people to use the tiny gravel spot at SE 228th Street & 64th Ave S and use the Puget Power Trail to get to this location. It is also possible to use the Puget Power Trail parking east of SR 181. However, none of these options are really that good. Trying to cross 64th Ave S. is nearly impossible without getting killed or a very long walk to nearby traffic lights to cross. The reality is that there is now a pretty nice parking area at the Natural Area itself, as seen in photo 3.
To access this parking lot, it is necessary to go south to S 231st Way, and come north as Russell Road is a one way road going north.
There are no restrooms in the parking area, but Van Doren's Landing Park is directly across the street and has reasonably usable public restrooms.
King County Metro bus route 180 is as close as you can get by transit. There is a stop at S 212th Street & 59th Place S. (near the KOA campground north of the Natural Area), and from there it is possible to walk to the Green River Trail and then south to the Natural Area. This bus also has a stop at S 226th Street and 64th Avenue S. and it is possible to take the Puget Sound Energy Trail from there west to the Natural Area. However, this bus does not run very often, and if coming from downtown Seattle it may be better to take bus route 150 over on 68th Ave S / W Valley Highway. Both of these buses also serve the Sounder Station in Kent, and the fastest way to get here using transit from downtown Seattle would be to take a Sounder train to Kent and then one of the local buses to get here. However, Sounder only operates during peak travel periods. Also, trying to cross any of the streets around here is a significant obstacle and must be carefully timed, or the routing must be carefully planned to hit the traffic lights, which are inconveniently located relative to the trails entering the Natural Area.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Wandering along the edge of the Green River (where else?) this paved walkway connects a number of suburban neighborhoods, including some of the industrial areas. It is also connects to a number of other trails, small parks, and other open space in the area, including the Puget Sound Energy Trail and the Green River Natural Resources Area.
The trail provides a fairly nice walkway that is mostly far away from areas with heavy road traffic. However, it is not necessarily a good jogging path as it is paved and therefore is the type of surface that wears heavily on leg and foot joints. There are currently nearly zero benches along the trail in the city of Kent itself.
However, the trail is quite varied along its entire 19 mile length from southern Seattle to Kent. It is therefore difficult to describe the entire trail based only on the segment that is here in Kent.
There appears to be ongoing work along the trail near the junction with the Puget Sound Energy trail.
While there isn't a huge amount of wildlife in the Green River, there is at least some. Kingfishers and common mergansers (during winter months) may be seen, and it is possible to use the trail to get to the Green River Natural Resources Area which provides a little more potential to see bird life.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
In Kent Station, a new shop called Waxen Art is a great place to get together with friends and make your own candles. You can pick the size, shape and scent (candles are priced accordingly) and then you are given all the tools you need. You pick out the colors of wax that you want and then start assembling your candle.
It's a fun way to socialize, and a nice place to have parties. As long as you call ahead of time for fairly large groups, you can also bring in snacks and drinks to enjoy while you make your wax work of art.
After you complete the candle, it takes up to 3 hours before it's ready to be picked up. But this is a fantastic way to make a thoughtful and homemade gift for somebody rather last minute. The staff here is really great.
You can make soaps here too.
24415 Russell Rd, Kent, WA 98032
Good for: Couples
21109 66th Avenue South, Kent, Washington, 98032, United States
Good for: Couples
22311 84th Ave. South, Kent, Washington, 98032, United States
Satisfaction: Very Good
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18123 72ND AVENUE SOUTH, Kent, WA 98032
Good for: Solo
22318 84th Ave. South, Kent, Washington, 98032, United States
Good for: Families
25100 74th Avenue South, Kent, Washington, 98032, United States
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
22420 84TH Avenue South, Kent, WA, 98032
Good for: Business
6329 South 212th Street, Kent, Washington, 98032, United States
Good for: Solo
22520 83rd Avenue South, Kent, Washington, 98032, United States
Good for: Couples
I have eaten pizza all over Europe and in several places in the US, and none has ever been as delicious as the pizza I have had at Fondi. There is one in Kent Station and another one in Seattle.
It gets a bit crowded on weekends, so go early. You order at the counter when you walk in and then seat yourself. They give you a number to put at your table so the server knows where to deliver your order. You can also order food to go.
The pizza is baked in a brick oven and you can watch them making it.
Favorite Dish: I have had 3 pizzas: 6 cheese, pepperoni, and vegetarian. All are fantastic. They make their own mozzarella cheese, which gives the pizza a very fresh taste.
Their salads and appetizers are fabulous too. The flatbread with slices of homemade mozzarella are fantastic. Pair that with a salad (I like the Insalata di Mele, which features chunks of apple and gargonzola cheese).
There are apparently a plethora of Indian restaurants in Kent, but I chose this one because of a good review I had read on the web. I gathered my co-workers and we drove a short distance to the address.
The restaurant is in an unassuming strip mall filled with other ethnic restaurants, and my first thought was 'Uh-oh, this is going to be mediocre at best'. Wrong.
We were warmly greeted when we entered and were allowed to pick our own table in the large dining room, which is unremarkable.
Our server was incredibly gracious and helpful, explaining many dishes and made sure that we got the heat level we desired in our dishes. We were made to feel like members of her family who stopped in for dinner.
We were given pappdums and chutneys to begin. The onion chutney was bright red and delicious.
I had a delicious sweet lassi and my coworker had an excellent mango lassi. We ordered and received delicious samosas and pakoras, which we ate with our chutneys.
The entrees were excellent, as was the basket of mixed breads that we ordered. I had a paneer dish in a creamy sauce that was excellent; my coworkers had lamb korma and a chicken and sweet pepper dish that was wonderful.
All in all, an excellent meal and some of the best and friendliest service I've had in a long time. Highly recommended.
Favorite Dish: Everything will be delicious here.Related to:
- Business Travel
12 Hotels in Kent
Located on the double track main line and essentially part of downtown Kent, the station is served by several Sounder trains every week day, except holidays. Some train service also happens during certain special events. While Amtrak trains do go through the station they do not stop here. It takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes (depending on the particular train schedule) to get from Kent to downtown Seattle, and a little over 30 minutes to get from Kent to Tacoma (depending on the train). This can be a much faster way to get to Seattle on public transit than the bus options but unfortunately only operate extremely infrequently during peak commute times.
The station is not especially appealing, and is mostly a modern edifice. There are only a few shelters on the platform, and unfortunately a number of benches have no shelter at all (as can be seen in the photo). The passage between the northbound and southbound station platforms is a walkway that is very high up, and a fair amount of time can be spent on the elevator or stairs if you need to change trains. This may need to happen from time to time, as sometimes the traffic needs to be routed so that trains operate in the reverse direction from what the signs say (ie, the signs direct people to the Tacoma track, but the trains are actually heading in the opposite direction).
The service is primarily designed for those going to Seattle for work, though occasional southbound trains also stop here each commute rush hour.
The station is also served by SoundTransit express bus route 566, plus King County Metro bus routes 150, 153, 158, 159, 162, 164, 166, 168, 169, 180, 183, 913, 914, 916 and 952.
It seems fairly common for SoundTransit to post an employee at the station to make announcements about train operations (for example when the train has left the next previous station, and when it is expected at Kent, and which track it will be on). Track 1 is the track on the west side of the station.
Currently, the parking garage hours are 5 am to 2:30 am, Monday through Friday, 6:30 am to 2:30 am Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays.
You may also wish to view my SoundTransit tip at
Kent Off The Beaten Path
Along with the Green River Trail, there are several small parks along the Green River that provide recreational activities and a bit more developed open space along the river. One of these places is Van Doren's Landing Park.
This park is also useful as a tourist destination because it provides additional parking plus actual restroom facilities and a working drinking fountain to the Green River Natural Area on the other side of Russell Road.
The park features a restroom facility and drinking fountain on the south side of the park, plus two picnic shelters, scattered picnic tables, horseshoe pits, and quite a number of shade trees, plus open grass to romp around in. A short section of the Green River Trail runs through the park, though this section of the trail is also shared as a road north and south of the park.
The park could be a very nice and peaceful respite from the surrounding din of the city as it is far from busy roads and is mostly remote from the industrial sites as well. However, there is a commercial dog kennel and doggie day care center immediately south of the park, which can produce an impressive amount of noise at times.
As the name implies, there is supposed to be a boat launching area here. However, is is only for hand carried craft and the slope down to the river is fairly steep.
How to Get Here: To drive to the park it is necessary to go south to S 231st Way, and come north on Russell Road as Russell Road is a one way road going north at this location.
King County Metro bus route 180 is as close as you can get by transit. There is a stop at S 212th Street & 59th Place S. (near the KOA campground just north of the park), and from there it is possible to walk to the Green River Trail and then south to the Natural Area. This bus also has a stop at S 226th Street and 64th Avenue S. and it is possible to take the Puget Sound Energy Trail from there west to the Green River Trail. However, this bus does not run very often, and if coming from downtown Seattle it may be better to take bus route 150 over on 68th Ave S / W Valley Highway. Both of these buses also serve the Sounder Station in Kent, and the fastest way to get here using transit from downtown Seattle would be to take a Sounder train to Kent and then one of the local buses to get here. However, Sounder only operates during peak travel periods. Also, trying to cross any of the streets around here is a significant obstacle and must be carefully timed, or the routing must be carefully planned to hit the traffic lights, which are inconveniently located relative to the trails entering the Park.
The official address is 21901 Russell Road South, Kent, Washington.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: SIR (Seattle International Raceway) All types of car racing.Funnycars,rails,local drag races between schools,etc. Also Emerald Downes for horse races.
Fondest memory: The rain. It keeps the air clean and other people from moving there. LOL
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