Our trail system is comprised of two interpretive trails, and a floating boardwalk loop which winds through the wetland area. Our trails are considered “rugged and unimproved,” this means that they are paths though the woods. They are not paved nor do they have wood chips or anything similar. Fortunately, due to the sandy nature of the soil, the trails are rarely muddy.
The first of these interpretive trails is the Shelter Trail. It is a half mile loop that takes you from the two original farm buildings past the native rhododendron and into the woods. This trail is fairly level with steps to aid you in a couple of slight elevation changes.
The other interpretive trail is the Casa Burro. This one mile loop includes part of the Shelter trail. The Casa Burro trail is named for the small cabin that housed Carmen Warner’s pet Burros. This trail starts by taking you past a sandstone cliff that was quarried for the foundation of the farm house now the Nature Center. For visitors interested in spring wildflowers, orchids, birding, or ferns this is the trail for you!
The Boardwalk Trail seems to be the most popular, perhaps because it can be seen from the parking lot. This short loop through the wetland is packed with neat things to see. Depending on the season and time of day, you might sneak up on a muskrat, observe butterflies at the buttonbush, see a painted turtle basking in the sun, or watch tons of colorful dragonflies racing around. At the start of the boardwalk is the wet meadow. This area is planted with native grasses, sedges, and wildflowers that like a moist sunny habitat. The end of July through the beginning of September is the peak bloom time for the meadow.
The Nature Center began its life in the early 1900’s as a farmhouse. Once acquired by Frank and Carmen Warner in 1931 it was remodeled to the lodge you see today. The inside of the Nature Center features natural history displays, an observation beehive, taxidermied animals, as well as live animals. The Nature Center is a favorite to visitors of all ages and is open during preserve hours. Wednesday through Sunday, 8 AM-4:30 PM.
Wahkeena is home to a variety of birds and other wildlife. During your visit be sure to take a look at our two captive birds of prey, a Barred Owl and Red-shouldered Hawk. Both were injured, deemed non-releasable and are now kept at the Preserve as educational animals.
Wahkeena offers a variety of programs throughout the spring, summer and fall. If you are interested in learning about our native birds, wildlife, wildflowers, ferns or just natural history in general be sure to check out our guided nature walks. We also offer programs for schools, scout groups and home school groups. Please contact us at (800) 297-1883 for more information on scheduling.