Can’t Miss Things to See and Do In Maple Valley and Black Diamond
Making plans to explore a new area can be really exciting. And whether you’re a seasoned veteran of Pacific Northwest living or you’re just in the area for a brief period of time, there’s no shortage of things to do in the Maple Valley and Black Diamond Area.
Just a short drive away from the booming metropolis of Seattle, Maple Valley and Black Diamond have seen an uptick in people moving or visiting the area over the past decade.
One big draw to these communities is how safe they are, with Maple Valley being named one of the safest cities in Washington for 2021. Black Diamond boasts crimes rates that are significantly lower than the national average.
With our incredible scenery, proximity to both water and mountains, friendly locals and thriving community, it’s no wonder people want to discover what the region has to offer.
So what are some can’t miss things to check out when you visit?
Here’s our list of things to do and see in the Maple Valley and Black Diamond Region.
Explore with Hiking, Biking and Walking
The Pacific Northwest is known for its incredible terrain suited to mountain biking, and the Maple Valley and Black Diamond area are no exception.
With over 120 miles of biking trails, there are trails suitable for everyone from beginners to experts, riders can enjoy both the majestic beauty of the areas and the crisp, clean air. Many of the trails take you right through Maple Valley and Black Diamond, and best of all, if the skies are clear you might just catch a few glimpses of Mount Rainier.
These trails are made possible in part by several trail partners, so if you’re looking for detailed guides, maps and information, you can find the list of partners right here.
For those who prefer to explore on foot, hiking and walking trails are in abundant supply. Many of the trails you can find run directly through the communities of Maple Valley and Black Diamond, and are suitable for the whole family.
Walking or hiking the trails is an incredible way to explore the nature that the PNW is known for. You check out local plants and wildlife, learn some of the histories of the trails and also keep an eye out for local events geared towards exploring everything the local ecosystem has to offer.
The Lake Wilderness Trail is one of the most popular in the area, suitable for explorers of all ages. This 6.4-kilometer loop trail is located just outside Maple Valley and is dog-friendly.
The Gnome Trail, named for its many gnomes and magical creatures you can find along the way, is an ideal interactive activity. Get out for a hike or a walk and see how many gnomes you can find along your route. Take some pictures, smell some wildflowers and keep track of which gnomes you’ve seen so you can find new ones on your next visit.
While you’re out, don’t forget to keep an eye out for any equine friends! Many of the trails are horse-friendly, so you can often see riders and their horses out for a stroll.
For a full listing of both Maple Valley and Black Diamond trails, you can click right here.
Discover Lake Wilderness
Touted as one of the shining jewels of the Maple Valley and Black Diamond area is Lake Wilderness Park, drawing in both locals and tourists.
As a small lake with no motorized boats, Lake Wilderness offers some of the best fishing and watersports in the area. You can rent a canoe or paddleboard to explore the lake, take a leisurely swim, or pack a lunch and rent a picnic spot or shelter so set up for the day. Ideal for small and large groups alike, the lake offers a plethora of activities to keep you busy all day long including walking trails, tennis courts, softball field, playground and more.
Lake Wilderness Lodge is also a must-see spot on the lake. Built in the 1950s, this majestic building was the recipient of the prestigious American Institute of Architecture and Washington State Design Awards and was later designated a landmark in King County.
With its thirty-three-foot totem pole, this sun-filled three-story lodge is a prime location in the Maple Valley and Black Diamond area for events. Weddings, receptions, conferences and other special events are hosted at the lodge year-round.
For those looking to explore the lodge, self-guided tours are available at various times throughout the week. To book a tour or inquire about hosting events, you can email for more information.
Finally, don’t miss out on the Lake Wilderness Arboretum. Stretching over 40 acres, the arboretum came into existence due to the vision and hard work of various locals over 50 years ago.
With the option to do a guided tour or wander at your leisure, visitors are encouraged to stroll the gardens and take in the lush greenery. With several themed gardens — Azalea, Rock, Woodland, Legacy and Perennial — plus multiple natural areas, a visit to the arboretum can be not only beautiful but educational.
The Arboretum is also known for having one of the world’s largest selections of Western Azaleas, with over 200 examples of the species on display.
The Storywalk is an ideal activity for people with children that combines nature and reading. Books are chosen by the Maple Valley Library, and then pages are framed and installed along the Main Looping Trail. Visitors can enjoy this interactive learning experience over and over again as the book selection changes from month to month.
Home to several events throughout the year, including plant sales, community activities and other seasonal celebrations, the arboretum can be either a calm and quiet activity or something a little more energetic and vibrant, depending on when you visit.
The arboretum can also serve as an incredible backdrop for weddings and other special events.
Tee Up Some Fun on the Course
One thing visitors to the PNW love is the ability to gold throughout most of the year.
Nestled amongst the towering fir trees, the Lake Wilderness Golf Course offers both 18-hole and 9-hole rounds, along with golf cart rentals. With short and narrow fairways, this course is designed to test golfers of any skill level.
The Wilderness Grill restaurant is designed to give golfers a place to relax before or after they play, so consider setting up a game with friends and then kicking back with a few drinks to cool off.
With a reception center on-site, this course is also a great venue for both social and corporate events.
Rates are lower during the weekdays, and seniors and juniors both benefit from a discounted rate for their rounds.
If traditional golf isn’t quite your speed, Gaffney’s Grove Disc Golf Course is a fun alternative. Both free to play and free to park, this course is great for those looking to try something new while balancing a budget.
For those not familiar, disc golf uses rules similar to regular golf, but instead of using clubs and a ball, you’re using a frisbee. Your goal is to hit the designated target with as few throws as possible.
Located in Wilderness Lake Park, this course is open seven days a week during regular park hours.
Bring Your Furry Friends
Sometimes when you’re exploring a new or unfamiliar area, you want to bring your pup along for the fun. Fortunately, many parks and businesses in Maple Valley and Black Diamond are dog friendly, so your best friend will be welcome.
Summit Valley Dog Park is a fenced-in off-leash dog park where your pet can socialize and get those zoomies out. Stroll the path while your dog runs, throw the ball for a rousing game of fetch, and chat with some fellow canine lovers.
Hit the Open Water and Trails
For those interested in watersports that are a bit more fast-paced, Lake Sawyer is the place to be. Located in Black Diamond and spanning just over 286 acres, this lake is the fourth largest lake in the area.
In addition to the typical things you’ll see on a lake like swimming and fishing, this lake is also known for things like water skiing, jet skiing, and powerboats.
Lake Sawyer is also known for its extensive mountain biking trails, which boast a multitude of free-ride obstacles including ladder bridges and drops.
For those who prefer to explore on foot, the Lake Sawyer Road Southeast parking lot acts as the entry hub to trails, picnic areas and the lake itself.
For those looking to bring their own watercraft, the public boat launch charges a $5.00 fee and is accessed from Lake Sawyer Road Southeast.
Brush Up On Local History
If getting up to speed on local history is more your idea of a relaxing day, you won’t want to miss the Black Diamond Historical Museum.
Looking back to the early days of the community when industries like coal mining were booming, this museum reflects the evolution of a community over the course of more than 100 years.
Despite its small size, this museum is stocked with artifacts and treasures that reflect the history of the town of Black Diamond. With its intricate vignettes depicting what life in the area used to be like, there’s no shortage of interesting items to take in.
If you’re planning on bringing the kids along, make sure to ask the volunteers about search activities. These are designed as a treasure hunt, and give the children an opportunity to become fully immersed in what they’re learning.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to the Black Diamond Historical Museum without stopping by the train car to take some pictures and give the horn a toot.
Once you’re done at the museum, take a stroll up historic main street and check out some local antique stores to find some amazing treasures.
Eat and Drink Local
You never know what amazing food and drinks a local area has to offer, and the Maple Valley and Black Diamond communities have both in abundance.
For those with a thirst for ale, spots like the Imbibe Bottle House & Taproom and the Lumber House Brewery offer up their very own microbrews. And that’s just the start. In fact, you could easily spend an afternoon sampling what several local breweries have to offer.
If you prefer grapes over hops, there are several wineries in the area you can visit. UVA Furem Winery and Cedar River Cellars offer wine tasting tours on their enchanting grounds. Both locations hosts events throughout the year, so make sure to check out their calendars and see what’s upcoming.
In terms of food, you can expect a vast array of cuisines to choose from in both areas. Whether you want a fine dining dinner or a family meal, there’s something to suit every taste or occasion. Wood-fired pizza, hand-rolled sushi, spicy Mexican, savory Thai, traditional pasta and more can all be found around the towns.
Looking for incredible food and drink to take back home? The Maple Valley Farmers’ Market not only provides Maple Valley, Black Diamond and other towns with an opportunity to buy fresh fruit and produce, but it’s also a community gathering place. With live music, arts and crafts, and specialty food and drink, the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is a vibrant place to spend a few hours on the weekend.
Ready to plan your next visit to Maple Valley and Black Diamond?
Visit the Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce to find more ideas and plan your adventure.