The Overlook Trail at Woodard Bay NRCA

Sign marking the Overlook Trail at Woodard Bay NRCA
The first time we visited Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) near Olympia, WA, back on July 24th, we had just a little trouble finding it. We couldn't see a sign marker for the last turn of the road that was mentioned on the directions we had printed off, and we hadn't brought a map, so my husband pulled in a parking lot he thought might be it.  After searching, we noticed a trail called "Overlook Trail" at the north end of the parking lot that led to Woodard Bay, but it was closed! It was a seasonal closure, though, and the sign posted said the trail would re-open on August 15th, so we determined to come back after that date.

Sign telling us the Overlook trail was closed

The map posted near the trail entrance showed a total of three trails on the Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area, the two others being on the other side of Woodard Bay, so we got back in our mini-van and drove a short way further down the road, just across the bridge, and found a small parking lot. The trails there were open, and we enjoyed our time at that part of the Woodard Bay NRCA very much.

Map showing the trails at Woodard Bay

I'll write about the other trails another day, but right now I want to talk about the first trail, the one that was closed the first time we visited, the "Overlook Trail." We had high hopes for that trail and looked forward to the time when it re-opened. We were able to visit again this past Saturday.

 The re-opened Overlook trail at Woodard Bay!

(picture taken by windchime)

The sign with the map on it had said, "For the sake of our wildlife residents, please keep noise to a minimum," so we diligently tried to be quiet as we walked along the trail. But we realized after awhile that there were houses nearby behind the trees and plants off to the right of the trail, for we heard a bunch of laughing and loud voices; it sounded like a family was having a very good time! Though we were happy for them, the loud sounds stole the quietness away.

At first we noticed the beautiful lush ferns and trees especially down off to the left side. . .

(picture taken by my older son)

(picture taken by my older son)

And the beautiful trees arching overhead. . .

The trail was wide at the beginning, but further on it narrowed as the vegetation crowded near the path. . .

When we came to a bright, beautiful opening, we were excited at the view of Woodard Bay that we hoped to see. . .

And we found these benches. . .

(picture taken by windchime)

And this view awaiting those who dare to rest on those benches. . .

We really wanted to see a view of the water, so we walked over to some trees nearby to see what we could see. . .

(picture taken by windchime)

And there we saw a beautiful glimpse of Woodard Bay. . .

There was certainly beauty along the trail, and it appeared to have been set up with such care. . . with a nice path, benches along the way, and a couple informational signs. But it was, as my daughter said, a little depressing, because of what it had become from what it must have been when it was first set up with such care. We are glad we visited, but it's sad to see things that have fallen into disrepair, and it can be difficult when reality doesn't meet up with your expectations, so we left the Overlook Trail that day feeling disappointed.

If you like reading about families in the outdoors, you're sure to enjoy visiting 5 Orange Potatoes' Outdoor Monday Challenge. (I meant to post this post yesterday, but fell asleep last night before I posted it!)


  1. You got gorgeous photos, looks like such an amazing place to visit :)

    Thank you for dropping by my blog and for following me, I really appreciate it.

    I'm glad you're going to try the Bible reading with me, I'm also hoping I don't fall off the wagon but I'm willing to give it my best :)

    Have a wonderful night! I'm adding you to my google reader.

  2. I had a very similar experience a couple of years ago. I went to a place where there was a lake with a viewing platform on an overlook. It would have been very nice, but there were big trees that had grown right in front of the platform. What I could see of the lake was beautiful, but I went home disappointed. I had negative feelings towards that place for over a year. I've since gone back, and after accepting the reality of that part I like it much better.

  3. Thank you, Sandra! I'm glad I found your blog. It'll be nice to do it together. :-)

    Thank you for sharing that and for understanding, Ratty!


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