Every time we drive on the 18, I see the sign for Flaming Geyser State Park. It’s been on my list for years but I never really made an effort to check it out. Until this summer. We had plans to hang out with friends on a June Monday, and I suggested we meet at Flaming Geyser. They were game. The plan was to meet there at 10:30am and hang until we needed to leave to get Laine to gym, about 1:30pm. And that’s exactly what we did.
Sometimes I question my thinking abilities. For some reason, I thought Flaming Geyser was literally off the 18. Like you exit and it’d be right there. There’s open green space visible from the 18 so I made the bad assumption that was the state park. Nope! After exiting the 18, it’s a good 15 minute drive to the park entrance. Google had me exit in Black Diamond and take back roads to the park entrance. It’s a pretty drive. But everything up here is a pretty drive with all the green.
We arrived at the park about 10:15am because I’m always early. Even with five kids. I blame my mother who forgot me on the first day of kindergarten. Back when nobody kept track of kids. I stood outside my classroom waiting a few hours until someone noticed me. They called my mom who had fallen asleep on the couch watching General Hospital. Hahaha. I totally get it now, as a parent. Not that I’ve ever forgotten to pick up any of the kids (and I’ve never been late). But I get that my mom finally had a break with both my sister and me at school, and the day got ahead of her. And I don’t really blame her, haha. But I do think it’s the subconscious reason why I’m always early. Even as I got older and into adulthood, my mom is ALWAYS late. I like to be early to scope out things. Like at Flaming Geyser. I had no idea where to go once we arrived.
The park entrance is a wide-open space just after a bridge, with a welcome kiosk. It was unmanned the day we went. I had to wing things with nobody to ask. I noticed a parking area to the left but opted to drive to the right because it felt like it was the way to go. I was right. We slowly drove down the main road until we hit open green space with picnic shelters and a playground. I drove a bit further until the road ends and circles back, and I saw a hiking sign. I parked.
Not long after getting out of the car our friends arrived. Before they did, a fellow hiker was returning to her car parked next to mine. I asked her if she knew the trails, she said yes, and then I asked if they are stroller-friendly. To which she said, “Not really, because the trails are muddy.” I thanked her and decided to skip unloading the stroller based on her mud report. Maive was footing it this day.
Kiddos! Saige said she didn’t have any smiles in her for the day (this changed).
All unloaded and ready to hike, we all made our way toward the hiking sign. And then we found the State Park map. We collectively decided to hike toward Flaming Geyser and then Bubbling Geyser, and go from there. Flaming Geyser is so uneventful that I totally spaced taking a picture of the thing. Haha. It wasn’t flaming and the place where one would light the geyser was covered with rocks. I did take a picture of the kids standing just to the left of the sucker. Hopefully Bubbling Geyser would be better.
Up the hill to Bubbling Geyser, we had the trail to ourselves. And I’d like to point out that mud aside, the trail is NOT stroller-friendly. There are stairs on the trail up to Bubbling Geyser. I’m thinking the woman I asked doesn’t have kids or knows anything about strollers. Fair enough. That was me 12 years ago. The trail ends at the staircase down to Bubbling Geyser. We all took turns heading down to check it out. It was stinky! And it looked pretty gross. But interesting. I quite liked the staircase and viewing area (also not stroller-friendly, haha). Maive liked them also, going up and down a few times.
At the end of the trail above Bubbling Geyser, there is a massive tree with roots out for all to see. The kids had a blast climbing on the thing! I think they were more into the tree than either of the geysers. I get it; the tree is pretty damn cool. Because the tree is higher up on a slope and the roots are intricate, I didn’t let Maive head up. More because I didn’t want to have to deal with rescuing her if needed. It was all good; she found a tree stump that was pretty hot stuff. She got her climb on while the big kiddos took on the tree roots.
The coolest tree and a stump for Maive!
We must have spent a good half-hour at the end of the Bubbling Geyser trail. Eventually we made our way back down to the mail trailhead. It was perfect timing; there were two more groups heading up to Bubbling Geyser. Down at the main trailhead, the kiddos putzed around in the water for a bit before we walked over to the grassy open space. They found a tree with hiding spots that caught all of their attention for a bit.
Getting their water and tree on.
After a quick stop at the car to grab snacks—I actually brought snacks for once—we found a picnic table in the middle of the grassy area, near the playground. The kiddos all roamed about, going between this really cool tree that’s perfect for relaxing and the playground. The Green River flows along the grassy area but we were a little more cautious letting the kiddos head that way alone. I don’t trust rivers. We all went to check it out together. It’s a river.
It was a perfect summer day. I love watching the kiddos out and about, seeing what interests each of them. And watching Maive get her toddler on, so adorable. As we were sitting, watching all the kiddos, I noticed a man and woman carrying bird cages from a car to a picnic table right along the Green River. I was curious. I thought maybe were going to release rehabilitated birds back into the wild. I sent Saige over to ask what the birds were all about.
Saige is my extreme extrovert and major people person. The other kids were curious also and went over to check out what was going on. Turns out it was a husband and wife, and their pet birds whom they were just taking to the park for an afternoon. I had no idea this is a thing for those with pet birds. Maybe it isn’t a common thing?! No idea. Seems kind of like, hey, birds, check out all the air space where you’ll never fly! Eh, I suppose the birds don’t think that way. They were sweet little things, and seemed well-cared for by the couple. I think they said they live in an apartment and take them out often?! I wasn’t listening to all that was being said to the kiddos. They all had questions and it was hard to hear everything. Adding it the list of random things that we encounter.
Geysers, trails, trees, playground, river, and pet birds—check. It was time to call it an afternoon. I wish we could have stayed longer, it was the perfect day. But gymnastics. Laine needed to be to practice at 4pm and we had to swing by home first for her to get ready. We called it a day at the park about 1:30pm. I’d like to go back and explore the trails a bit more. Maybe in the fall.