A peaceful walk around the wetlands, this is the perfect stroll for someone who wants to experience a little chunk of nature. The tract of wetlands is well-preserved despite being close to town, making the park an attraction for bird-watchers and plant-lovers of the city of Olympia.
Begin the ramble by parking in front of a fence in a small gravel parking lot. A small map immediately inside the fence illustrates the trails in the park. Head across an open field to a large sign, which describes some of the park’s animals. Ducks, such as buffleheads, and other waterfowl can be found in Grass Lake, and songbirds like black-throated grey warblers, common yellowthroats, and various sparrows can be found in the forest brush and wetland bushes. About 100 bird species have been recorded in the 171 acre refuge, along with over 200 species of plants.
At the large sign, turn left down a short boot path to see a view of Grass Lake or continue straight along the main trail. After about 0.2 miles, approach a three-way junction and a map. Turn left to go to the lakeshore again, this time to see the lake from a different angle, and then return to the junction. Go straight or turn right for the one-mile loop trail. The trail meanders through a vibrant-green mix of salal, Oregon grape, sword fern, and a wealth of deciduous shrubs.
Both conifers and deciduous trees, coated in a multitude of mosses and lichens, tower overhead in the second and third-growth forest. The forest opens enough for more light to filter through at about .5 miles into the loop, where wetland habitat is evident to the left of the trail. This is the Western patch of Grass Lake’s wetland.
Catch a glimpse of the Eastern patch of wetland, too, before rounding a bend in the trail and following a neighborhood fence for about 0.2 miles. Next, look out for a second map before turning right again to follow the trail around its loop to the first map at the three-way junction.
WTA Pro Tip: The best place to stop to watch birds on the lake or have a picnic is at the end of the left turn trail at the three-way junction. There’s a little clearing with a nice sitting-rock in the middle along with the lake view.