“A varied route through the northern reaches of Island Center Forest.
— Brendan Ross
Birding · Fall Colors · Spring
Deer hunting in the main portion of Island Center Forest is permitted for a short period, typically in the second half of October. During this time, the trails are closed to non-hunters. Signs will be placed at trailheads, but if visiting during this period, it's a good idea to check King County's website at kingcounty.gov/services/par…
. The Natural and Gateway Areas, east of Landtrust Trail
, remain open.
Island Center Forest's routes are mostly flat and smooth. Road or trail shoes work fine on these easy trails. Expect to share them with other hikers, runners, cyclists, and horseback riders. Take note that there are several singletracks branching off the established trail system and leading to local residents' backyards.
Dogs are not permitted in the Mukai or Meadowlake Pond areas but are allowed throughout the rest of the trail. They are required to remain "either leashed or under strict sight and voice control," according to local regulations.
Generally, visitors should elect to use the 188th Street Trailhead, as it has the most parking. Paper maps are available here and at the Mukai and Cemetery Trailheads.
Techmo begins at a signed three-way intersection with Middle Fork
and North Trail
. The path is a spacious singletrack, occasionally widening to double, with dispersed obstacles typical to Vashon Island: roots and smooth stones. This is an easy route, and for the most part is very well maintained.
As Techmo proceeds, it alternates between thick fir and cedar filled woods and spread-out areas of newer growth. There's a lot of variety here, and the sense of solitude is great.
As Techmo makes a turn south near the unmarked intersection with The Gallops
, it hits a perpetually muddy section. Strategically-placed rocks on the north side allow runners to hop across the mess. Another connector south follows after as the trail makes an easy climb.
Techmo ends at the dirt road extension of 115th Avenue. Signs point the way to 115th Bypass
fifty feet ahead, and the "trail" segment of 115th
, which leads to the Mukai Trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
Originally a state-owned area logged to provide revenue for Washington's education system, Island Center Forest was passed to King County Parks in 2002 as a model for sustainable forest management. Owing to its history, the area exhibits a mix of both old growth and restoration areas. Many local tree species grow here, including enormous firs and one of the Island's largest areas of quaking aspens.
Animal life includes smaller woodland creatures and deer, but the biggest draw to Island Forest is the wide variety of birds, more than eighty species in all. The wetland areas around Mukai and Meadowlake Ponds draw bird watchers from around the region.