Exploring Maple Valley’s whimsical, woodland Gnome Trail

Where to find one of the Seattle area’s most mystical trails


Bring your own gnomes to add to the trail.

Photo by @lalalangelaz

You may have heard local folkore about Sasquatches, UFOs, and even a mysterious Wallingford Goo — but have you heard the tale of Maple Valley’s Gnome Trail?

Unlike the other legends, you don’t need as much faith to believe this story. The Gnome Trail is a 0.7-mile loop pathway in the eastern King County town covered in tiny gnome sculptures doing everything from yoga to cheering on the Seahawks.

These gnomes are placed by the thousands of visitors each year and are often moved around (with encouragement) by others wandering the woods.

It’s an excellent activity for families with young children or those with a penchant for fantasy or quirky locales.

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Look for one of these signs to signify the beginning of your magical journey.

🍄 The more you gnome

The trail was first created in 2019 by an unknown gnome fan at Henry’s Ridge, but it was hard to access without a long hike. So when the gnomes became super popular in 2020 — we were all into escapism back then — illegal shortcuts through private property began to appear.

To make sure the magic remained without irking residents, the City of Maple Valley moved the trail to its current location at the Legacy Site that same year. Officials even created a new trail just for the little woodland creatures.


Er... be careful when placing those gnomes in precarious spots.

Photo by @lundb305

🍄 Pointy hats as far as the eye can see

If you’re itching to check out this magical little trail for yourself, here are some good things to know.

  • Length: 0.7 miles, 78-ft elevation gain
  • Address: 25719 Maple Valley Black Diamond Rd. SE (park at the Maple Valley Farmers Market)
  • Drive time: ~45 minutes from Seattle
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-dusk
  • Dog-friendly (but keep the pup on a leash)
  • Walkable any time of year
  • Two other trails connect to the Gnome Trail, so pay attention to signage.
  • Bring your own gnomes to add to the fun.
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