Monarch Sculpture Park

[Featured image description: A sign reads Monarch Sculpture Park. Park hours dawn to dusk year round. Founded by artists and private patron in 1995 as a non-profit 501c3 entity. Mission Statement: to create an atmosphere conducive to the creation, presentation, appreciation, and sale of fine art. Programs sponsored by Monarch: student mentoring and community outreach. Monarch is a volunteer agency. We are funded by your your donations. If you feel that we are fulfilling an important role in the cultural life of the community and the region, please support us. Place your donation in the box at the entrance or mail us your contribution. Thank you and enjoy your visit. Myrna Orsini, founder and director. the sign is surrounded by colorful monarch butterflies and sculptural art.]

A series of sculptures in a grassy area, with hills rising in the distance.

Monarch Sculpture Park is an outdoor public art project. The park is located on the Chehalis Western trail just south of Olympia, near Tenino. The park features over 100 sculptures, a hedge maze, a sound garden, and a bird and butterfly garden. There is a lovely creek that runs through the park, and many places to sit and enjoy the views of the surrounding prairie and hills.

Spoon Rating: One Spoon. It is important to note that this park is walk in or bike in only. There is no vehicular access. There is a small parking area for the Chehalis Western trail at the driveway, from that parking area it is just a hundred feet or so to the entrance.

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Glass standing stones beside a creek.

Trail Description: There isn’t a trail exactly, more like multiple ways to wander through the gardens and view the sculptures. The entire park is 5 acres. The entrance to the park lies above the rest of the gardens, so you will have to walk down one of the paths or a set of steps. None of the paths are very steep and are accessible in a wheelchair, though they may require some assistance.

A mosaic farm scene beside a creek.

Once in the lower level of the gardens, the grounds are mostly grass with some gravel and a couple of moist areas. Wander your way through as you are able. To get to the maze and the sound garden, cross the level bridge over the creek.

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A large hand grasps at a hand full of sticks. The sticks have human faces on them. The sculpture is behind a wood fence next to a creek.

 

Check out the huge lumber bells outside of the park, too.

The park is in a bit of a state of disrepair, and there are signs reminding visitors that the gardens are being restored. As it is, the sculptures are interesting, the creek is a lovely feature, and it is nice to have a place to be in the quiet of the area. It is a nice place to visit if you are on your way to other hikes in the area or if you are biking the Chehalis Western trail. There is a porta potty available, but it was not wheelchair accessible when I visited.

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A blue trellis frames a large yellow butterfly sculpture with a small garden house in the background

Cell Phone Reception: Yes, can be spotty.

Getting There: It is an easy drive from Olympia and not far off of I-5 exit 99. But if you can, I recommend taking Rainier Road south from south Lacey for a more scenic route. Either way, you’ll drive on paved two-lane county roads through rolling farm land and prairie. You can’t miss the entrance, just look for huge sculptures lining the road, and a large colorful butterfly sculpture on the left. Turn right there, park in the little parking area on the left if there is space and walk to the right on the gravel driveway. If there is no parking here, you can continue a little further to another parking area for the trail.

Nearby Alternatives: Wolf Haven Sanctuary is nearby, and Deschutes Falls Park is 30 minutes away.

Last Updated April 3, 2018

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