Theler Wetlands

Belfair, Washington 98528

Theler Wetlands

Theler Wetlands Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"At the head of Hood Canal are the Theler Wetlands—139 acres of protected estuary, freshwater marsh, and forest at the mouth of the Union River. Locals consider it a treasure, and so should you. The area is not pristine, but undisturbed estuaries are rare in Puget Sound.

That makes this place the next best thing because the Theler Wetlands are certainly on their way to recovery. Also on the upside, this place is well cared for and loved. Hikers, botanizers, and bird- watchers will not be disappointed by the Theler Wetlands. There is much to see, and after only a short walk from the highway, the scene is quiet and serene."

More Theler Wetlands Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Birding Washington (Falcon Guides)
Rob and Natalie McNair-Huff
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"Water defines the Theler Wetlands. Bounded on two sides by the Union River and Hood Canal, the area is threaded with a combination freshwater ponds and forested wetlands on the upland side, tidal wetlands in the salt marsh, and an estuary at the mouth of the river. Artistic touches, including native plant gardens, carved totems, and other sculptures, enhance the wildlife experience. Interpretive trails and interactive displays offered at the educational center make Theler Wetlands one of the best places to introduce children to birding. Habitats: Freshwater and tidal marshes, wetland, mixed forest, riparian, mudflats. Specialty birds: Brant; Greater Scaup; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Golden and Bald Eagles; Peregrine Falcon; Bonaparte’s, Mew, and Western Gulls; Band-tailed Pigeon; Vaux’s Swift; Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds; Pileated Woodpecker; Red-breasted Sapsucker; Pacific-slope Flycatcher; Hutton’s Vireo; Purple Martin." Read more
Urban Trails Kitsap (The Mountaineers Books)
Craig Romano
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"Spend a couple of hours or all day exploring a wildlife-rich estuary at the farthest reaches of fjord-like Hood Canal. Watch for eagles, osprey, herons, swallows, otters, and deer as you hike the trails and boardwalks through grassy wetlands and along the Union River." Read more
Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades (The Mountaineers Books)
Joan Burton
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"A large tidal wetland and educational center have been set aside and are privately maintained near Belfair, on the Kitsap Peninsula. Children can walk out on old dikes past salt marshes on a floating boardwalk to see the freshwater Union River as it reaches the headwaters of Hood Canal. The estuary trail leads out to stunning views of water, woodlands, and Olympics. Birds, native plants, and Native American art are displayed in the educational center. The trail network is a part of the 135-acre preserve given by the Theler family to the community and school district. For those with children in strollers, there are four miles of barrier-free scenic trails. The Mary E. Theler Watershed Project Center at the trailhead offers interactive educational exhibits about migratory birds and resident wildlife." Read more

Theler Wetlands Reviews

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Great place for birding. The Theler Wetlands is part of the Hood Canal Wetlands Project and the combined property includes a large portion of the Hood Canal tideflats and the Union River estuary. There is a good trail that goes up the Union River where few park visitors venture so you can get away from the crowds and get more exercise. Take your kids since this place is very intriguing and educational. Also, try to schedule your trip during a high tide to see more wildlife.

Theler Wetlands Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
2-3 hours
Year round. Best wildflowers: April– June.
Mary E. Theler Community Center
Local Contacts
USGS Belfair; DeLorme Page 69 G-8
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018