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Trails, parks and eats in Thurston County

Get outside and explore this fall

Watching the salmon run is a popular fall activity in Thurston County. Photo credit: Photo courtesy Experience Olympia

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If you consider yourself a Pacific Northwesterner, you're probably aware fall isn't the season to stay inside, it's the time to grab a rain jacket and get outside. Thurston County is the perfect fall destination offering plenty of family-friendly parks and trails to explore, plus some recommended eats to discover.

Percival Landing and Boardwalk is a nearly mile-long boardwalk that allows visitors to walk along the Budd Inlet in Downtown Olympia. The picnic area and playground is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or snack. A short distance away is Sophie's Scoops if you're looking to indulge in a sweet treat. We firmly believe that no matter what time of year it is, ice cream is always a good idea.

Located a short 10-minute drive away from the boardwalk is Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls and there is no better time than fall to visit. During autumn, visitors have the opportunity to view salmon jumping up the salmon ladder, plus 15 acres of natural beauty to explore. Another opportunity to view salmon spawning during the fall is at the McLane Nature Trail featuring a salmon observatory that overlooks the creek and the spawning salmon. A one and a half mile round-trip trail is also located in this park. It's important to note since the park is located in Capitol Forest, a Discover Pass is required. 

Another family-friendly option is the Lacey-Thurston County Regional Athletic Center. The Athletic Center is not only an incredible outdoor sporting facility, but it also boasts two miles of walking trails, a hill that is perfect for flying kites and a playground. 

If you're looking for a longer trail to walk or ride bikes on, the Yelm-Rainier-Tenino Trail is the perfect option. This 14.5-mile trail connects the communities of Yelm, Rainier and Tenino and has three starting points all with access to restrooms.

The Yelm trailhead is located behind City Hall and provides parking, picnic tables, restrooms and an information kiosk. After you complete the trail, or a portion of it, you will surely be hungry. That's where Pizzeria LA Gitana in Yelm comes in. Their authentic Italian thin-crust pizza accompanied with their dining atmosphere will be the perfect way to wind down the day.

You can also choose to start the journey at the Rainier Trailhead located between Centre and Minnesota streets, behind the Rainier market. If you choose this location to start and finish you'll want to stop at Mainstreet Cookie Co. for a sweet treat.

The third starting option on the trail is Tenino. The trailhead is located at the Tenino City Park on Washington Ave. After you're done on the trail stop by Don Juan's Mexican Kitchen or you can pick it up to-go and have a picnic before or after your journey.

With so much opportunity, there is no better place than Thurston County to explore all fall long. Request your free visitor guide at for more information on Thurston County activities and adventures this fall. 

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