The Northern State Mental Institution will not disappoint. The park is located near Sedro-Woolley, WA and is easily accessible by well-maintained trails that guide you around the many abandoned buildings that remain on the property. My sister, Liz, found this gem of a walk. The walk itself can be spooky in the fog or twilight and gorgeous on a sunny day.
Northern State Mental Hospital was founded in 1912 and at its peak housed 2,700 patients. Only a small portion of the facility is still in use for drug treatment and off limits to the public. The remains of the once vast complex are open to the public, but please do take care to stay clear of the buildings as many of them are beginning to buckle with age.
The institution produced its own food utilizing an onsite dairy, cannery, and greenhouses. These buildings stand in varying stages of decay. If you’re looking for a place for a photo shoot this park will not disappoint. The dilapidated buildings provide rustic back drops and the mountains that surround the park are breathe taking. Even the graffiti provides character to the park.
Add an extra spooky element to the trip with a visit to the cemetery where you will find few traditional headstones, instead most of the graves are marked with small cement slabs providing only initials and/or a three digit number as identification of occupants.
The trails are easily accessible for children and the park is full of wildlife, we came upon a herd of around 20 elk on our visit and saw many birds. The park also has picnic facilities and a large BBQ. If you’re looking for sports entertainment, enjoy a round of disk golf. The course runs through much of the 700 acre park.
Find directions and park details at http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/northern-state-ghost-town