If you just need some quiet time in nature and are not looking for a big workout, this little walk will be perfect. There is good access to the Snohomish River where you can find a place to throw a line in the water plus some good birding opportunities near the small lakes.
The trail starts as an old gravel road heading downhill toward the river. As you reach the bottom of the little hill, spy Shadow Lake on your left through the trees. Follow one of the paths through the grass to a better view. On your way, look to your left; there is a small seasonal waterfall coming off the hill by the parking lot. If the mud is not too deep or the water too high, you can do some exploring along the grassy shore of the lake.
This is a good place for birding both in summer and winter. Bring your binoculars and see how many species of ducks you can spot. In the winter you may see swans here too. They are larger and can be identified by their black beak and long graceful neck. Look for herons hanging out in the shallow, muddy areas along the shore, perhaps looking for a frog leg dinner! You also may see an eagle hunting overhead for a meal.
Head back to the main trail. There is another small marshy lake to the right, but it is swampy and harder to reach. That's OK, this is a wildlife preserve and these wet meadows are set aside for wildlife, not us humans. Continue on the path through the grass. In the summer months it is harder to see over the high grass, but in the winter the views are better, out toward Lord Hill and down the river valley.
At the end of the meadow is a wooded area and a dike before you reach the river. The main trail leads to the left, but there are many little fishermen's paths to the right leading to prime steelhead fishing in season. In fact, the Snohomish Sportsmen's Association led the campaign to save this area from encroaching development and preserve the public access to the river. The preserve is named for Bob Heirman one of the members that spearheaded the effort. Go ahead and wander along the dike here, but if someone's fishing, don't scare the fish away!
Turn to the left and follow the main trail as it leads through a wooded area over the dike and heads to a gravel bar along the river. You may have to climb over a few logs to get there, but the trail is easy to follow. Once out on the gravel, you are at Thomas Eddy, a series of sharp hairpin turns in the river. Eat lunch, throw a few wishing rocks, dabble your toes in or just enjoy the view. When you are ready, turn around and wander back the way you came.
Extending your hike: Need more of a workout? Head for nearby Lord Hill, with over 10 miles of trails, one leading over the hill and down to the other side of the Snohomish River.
Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve
- 3.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 82 feet
- Highest Point
- 92 feet
Hiking Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve
Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.8615, -122.0932 Open in Google Maps