Meadowdale Beach Park & Lunds Gulch, Lynnwood, Washington (2024)

LOCATION

Meadowdale Beach Park is located a short distance north of Seattle in Lynnwood, Washington, on the shores of Puget Sound.

LENGTH

2.5 miles out and back

DIFFICULTY

Easy/Moderate — The Lunds Gulch Trail to Meadowdale Beach is wide and well-maintained. The first part of the trail heads downhill at a relatively gentle slope (there are some stairs), then flattens out when you reach the creek at the bottom of the gulch. Expect some mud during the wet season.

WE HIKED IT

January, 2021, about 3 hours, but that included almost 2 hours at the beach

CURRENT INFO

This hike is included in the book Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington by Susan Elderkin. Current trip reports are available online on the WTA (Washington Trails Association) website.

GOOD TO KNOW
  • Parking at Meadowdale Beach Park is free, but on busy weekends it can fill up. Fortunately, street parking is available nearby.
  • A port-a-potty is stationed in the parking lot.
  • A large grassy area with picnic tables, a covered picnic shelter, and restrooms (or port-a-potties on our visit) is located along the trail right before the beach. This is a great place for tossing a ball or Frisbee.
  • Dogs on leash are welcome, including on the beach.
  • Expect mud if it’s been raining. Wear closed shoes with good traction. Hiking poles may be helpful for some.
  • The beach is sometimes inaccessible during high tides, so check the tide tables ahead of time if you’re hoping for beach time.
HIGHLIGHTS

This is a great easy year-round hike in the North Seattle/Snohomish County urban area, with a wonderful beach to explore during low tide. A clear day provides fantastic views of the Olympic Mountains.

THE KIDS’ TAKE

The kids happily spent a few hours at Meadowdale Beach playing with rocks and sticks and splashing at the water’s edge. It’s great in (almost) any weather – just don’t forget to check the tide tables before you go! While the picnic area isn’t a big draw in the winter, it’s a great spot for picnics or outdoor games in good weather. My younger son, T, loved exploring the many old hollowed out stumps found along the trail.

WHILE YOU’RE HERE

Meadowdale Beach is located midway between the towns of Mukilteo to the north and Edmonds to the south. Both towns have public beaches near their respective ferry terminals, and you don’t have to hike to get there! Check out Brackett’s Landing North in Edmonds or Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo. In the mood for another short, easy urban hike? Try Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary in Everett.

If you’re looking for food, there are many good casual Asian eateries along Pacific Highway (Highway 99) in the Edmonds/Lynnwood area. A few places we’ve enjoyed include Noodle Hut, Seattle Deli (serving inexpensive banh mi sandwiches), Qin Xi’an Noodles, and Dumpling Generation. All are marked on the map above.

Our Experience

Another weekend, another local hike! After exploring a few new places, like O. O. Denny Park and the Brightwater Center, we decided to revisit a hike we’d done several year ago, taking the Lunds Gulch Trail to Meadowdale Beach. On our visit then, we didn’t run into many others along the trail. This time, the parking lot was full as families took advantage of the dry Saturday weather to get out and moving.

Fortunately, the trail here is wide, and even in these pandemic times, I felt pretty comfortable joining the throng. Still, I was surprised to see quite a few people not wearing masks. All were polite, not crowding other hikers, but I encourage everyone who can to wear a mask on busy trails during this time. It’s one simple way we can work together as a community to protect our neighbors and ensure our trails remain open. Ultimately, I’m thrilled to see so many hikers out this winter, enjoying our wonderful public parks.

Meadowdale Beach Park & Lunds Gulch, Lynnwood, Washington (1)

The trail winds its way downhill through second-growth forest into Lunds Gulch, where a small stream bubbles past on its way to join Puget Sound. Massive stumps line the trail, evidence of earlier logging on this site. Today, the hollow stumps provide a rich habitat for younger trees, and secret hideaways for children to explore.

Meadowdale Beach Park & Lunds Gulch, Lynnwood, Washington (2)

Just a quarter mile before the beach, a bridge crosses the creek, passing by the caretaker’s cabin. Yes, this small county park actually has a caretaker’s cabin (with their own access road). It’s such a charming spot that I’m a bit jealous! A little free library is stationed near the cabin, so bring any books you no longer need, and perhaps you’ll find a new one for yourself. Beyond the caretaker’s cabin lies an open field. I can easily imagine the picnics taking place in the covered shelter come summer, and games of Frisbee on the lawn.

Meadowdale Beach Park & Lunds Gulch, Lynnwood, Washington (3)

From the grass, the beach remains hidden. As with many beaches along the eastern edge of Puget Sound, a train track runs alongside the shore. In this case, a low tunnel leads to the beach below the tracks. It’s actually a culvert created for the creek to pass under, with a grated walkway for beachgoers to cross.

Meadowdale Beach Park & Lunds Gulch, Lynnwood, Washington (4)

We arrived when the tide was still low, offering ample space for all to spread out and enjoy some time on the sand. The kids immediately ran to the water, dropping rocks into the creek and sourcing sticks to draw in the sand. I stood with my friend, enjoying the view and a chance to relax while our kids played. Well, relax is a relative term here. I was still holding the leash for our dog, Buddy, while he did his best to strain against it. Dogs are allowed on the beach here, but they must remain leashed.

Meadowdale Beach Park & Lunds Gulch, Lynnwood, Washington (5)

Buddy made the most of it, despite his short lead. He dug furiously in the sand, searching for new smells and tastes. I did my best to prevent him from drinking any saltwater, but he probably ingested some regardless. Let’s just say that time on the beach can have a definite effect on a dog’s digestive system, and leave it at that!

Meadowdale Beach Park & Lunds Gulch, Lynnwood, Washington (6)

Even on a cloudy day, spending time near the water is a blessing. The minutes slipped away as the adults chatted and the kids (and dog) explored. As the sun sank lower, we decided it was time to turn back. The kids were refreshed and ready to go, bounding up the trail ahead of us. T revisited his favorite secret tree stump forts, hoping to pop out and surprise us as we passed. He seemed to have more energy than anyone, and once again beat the rest of us back to the trailhead (he’s very proud of his new “five-year-old” hiking skills).

Meadowdale Beach Park & Lunds Gulch, Lynnwood, Washington (7)

We lingered a bit before heading for home, saying a last goodbye to our friends. It had been a lovely afternoon, not just for us, but for dozens of other families and urban hikers. It’s places like Meadowdale Beach that sustain us when we need a quick escape. Thank you, Snohomish County Parks, for preserving this beautiful space for all!

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Tags: beach hikes, dog friendly, winter hikes

Meadowdale Beach Park & Lunds Gulch, Lynnwood, Washington (2024)
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