John MacDonald Tolt River County Park Trails

Various • 2.3 mi • 450 ft

An unheralded King County property in the Snoqualmie Valley, John MacDonald Tolt River Park has good river access in a scenic setting. Hikers can climb to a high viewpoint or explore along the river on two moderate and pleasant trails. John MacDonald, the visionary behind the King County park that now bears his name, organized the development of recreational facilities at the confluence of the Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers in 1976 as a bicentennial project. MacDonald was the chief of the Seattle Council of Boy Scouts at the time and hoped to build campsites in the spirit of another Boy Scout facility—West Seattle’s Camp Long. The fruits of his efforts are still being felt today, as the park provides a number of good camping opportunities. Other pieces of inspired development include a restored picturesque red barn that now serves as a picnic shelter and an elegant suspension footbridge that links the park’s eastern and western sides. Naturally, the park is popular with campers. But mountain bikers also like to ride a network of trails on the high bluff to the west, where it is possible to connect with trails originating at Ames Lake, about a mile away. And hikers can follow a good loop through the forest and along the river, or join the bikers on the bluff with an out-and-back trail to an impressive viewpoint.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Carnation
Length: 2.3 total miles
Elevation Gain: 450 feet
Trail Type: Several options
Skill Level: Easy on River Trail, moderate on Bluff Trail
Duration: 2 to 4 hours
Season: Year round
Trailhead Elevation: 50 feet
Top Elevation: 500 feet
Local Maps: USGS Carnation
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Recent Trail Reviews


Boy is this place big, many interconnecting trails and nothing is marked! The directions are very confusing and the map is not good. Be prepared to get lost. View at the top was pretty awesome though. There have been cougars sited on these trails so be aware.

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