Otto Preserve is a lovely walk through a well protected forest of towering trees. The land originally belonged to Carl and Isle Otto. On their passing, it was inherited by an islander who eventually sold to the Heritage Trust. There is an educational center on site. Check the website for hours of operation.
Even in a light rain, Otto Preserve is an enjoyable place to be. The main trail is wide and smooth with a short climb via steps. The main loop is just 1 mile total. Walden Walk, Bettys Shortcut, Hay Barn Loop and Baumgart Woods are all spur trails and you can hike these in any combination and return to the trailhead easily.
These spurs are more narrow and more technical but still easy trails to hike with more twists and turns than the main trail. There are lots of big stumps, birds, fern gardens and other wildlife to see. Mushroom foraging or picking is not allowed.
This hike is short enough for even the littlest hikers, yet long enough to burn some energy. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it in the grassy meadow after your hike. Be sure to visit the old hay barn, too! Just be careful, as it is old and in disrepair.
To continue hiking, consider nearby Curry Preserve which provides wandering footpaths through wide open meadows and forest with minimal elevation gain. Curry Preserve allows leashed dogs.
WTA Pro Tip: The area can get muddy during winter months, especially on the Hay Barn Loop. Strong winds scatter leaves and branches across the trails which may require a little navigation.
To get some food before or after your hike, there is the Beach Store Cafe just north of the ferry terminal at 2200 N. Nugent Road and The Islander Grocery just south of the ferry terminal, located at 2106 S. Nugent Road. Both have a view of the water, looking east toward Mount Baker.