Last week was the calm before the storm, so to speak. We’re up for a brutal week, weather wise, but why not take advantage of the sun, heat, and lack of water dripping from the sky? Seattle is brimming with outdoorsy activities, and one of those activities are trails. Whether you’re looking for a long or short trail or a beautiful or private trail a Seattle park is only a short drive away.
These twelve easy and awesome hikes accommodate not only walkers, but runners and bicyclists, too!
Carkeek Park offers 220 acres of lush forests, meadows, creeks, wetlands, and dozens of intertwining trails, including South Bluff Trail, Hillside Trail, Pipers Creek Trail, North Traverse, and the South Ridge Trail. Plenty of parking along the street leading towards the water, as well as a play area and beach access. It’s always surprising to check out the low tide critters!
Warren G. Magnuson Park doesn’t have oodles of trails, but they do have a few that run the length of the park, through the wetlands and towards the beach. At roughly 350 acres, the park is noted as Seattle’s second largest park and is known for its array of amenities. Though it only has four miles of trails, it still beats our next installment, and it coupled with beauty, beaches, and activity!
The Burke-Gilman Trail is another popular trail in Seattle. Disclaimer: though it starts in Seattle, it ends in Bothell (or vice versa depending on how you look at it.) This 18.8-mile stretch is well-maintained asphalt starting near Seattle’s Golden Gardens and ending near the Sammamish River Trail.
Greenlake & Woodland Parks are across a very small street from each other. A loop around Greenlake Park is 2.8 miles, but you can supplement that walk with the trails in Woodland Park. Both areas are stunningly breathtaking, with sparkling views of Greenlake and its surrounding beauty. Woodland Park even has an off-leash dog park for puppies, but, don’t worry, you can take them on the loop with you too!
The best (in my opinion) park for trails within the Seattle limits is Discovery Park. For any activity level, Discovery Park has an area in which you’ll thrive. A 534-acre natural park, it rests as Seattle’s largest park and encompasses much of the entirety of Magnolia’s Northwestern peak. Many of the trails are accessible from the main road, Discovery Park Boulevard, and the loops of Washington and California Avenue. Though the main Discovery Park Loop Trail in only 2.8 miles, dozens of other trails can easily bump that number.
The Elliott Bay Trail runs along the Seattle waterfront, starting at Terminal 91 along the waterfront and extends 3.4 miles towards Smith Cove and ends near Smith Cove Park. A wonderfully maintained asphalt trail is easily accessed and heavily trafficked by bicyclists, walkers, and runners alike.
Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park is 40 acres of urban beauty. Historical buffs will enjoy the Observatory and Asian Art Museum (temporarily closed, 2017 – anticipated reopening, 2019), while runners, bicyclists, and walkers will enjoy the main loop and astounding landscaping. The East Highland Drive Trail is the mail trail on the West side boundary, while several other unnamed trails can be utilized throughout the area.
I know you’ve been waiting for the beautiful Washington Park Arboretum trails. Two main trails run North-South through the length of the Washington Park Arboretum, including Azalea Way and Arboretum Drive East. Though these are the main trails, other trails, such as the East Arboretum Trail and Arboretum Aqueduct, intersect between the two main arterial.
Moving further south, the Genesee Park and Playfields (lower & upper) offer wonderful neighborhood trails. Though only about a mile of trail, the park offers various other amenities, including being a staple to the neighborhood’s sports activities. Well-maintained and relatively flat, these trails are optimal for beginners, but great at every level.
Lake Washington is a spectacular beauty in the Pacific Northwest, and well-used for swimming, fishing, boating, and all other water activities. On the shores stretching from Colman to Seward Park you’ll find the Lake Washington Boulevard Trail. This 4.9-mile out and back tail is moderately trafficked, yet excellently maintained and accessible year-round. Though this trail connects the two parks, it doesn’t have to end there!
Seward Park is its own kind of splendor and natural brilliance. This 300-acre peninsula extends into Lake Washington and is home to many wonderful opportunities, such as boating, swimming, community activities, trailing, walking, running, biking, and so much more. A 2.4-mile bike/walk/running path circles the majority of the park, while trails, such as Spine Trail, Lost Lake Trail, Erratic Trail, and Huckleberry Trail, among others, wind through the forests of Seward Park.
Last on our stop today, is the beloved Alki Beach. The Alki Trail is a 5.5-mile trail that extends from Alki Avenue SW & 65th Ave SW and the West Seattle Bridge. This asphalt trail offers beautiful city views of the Seattle skyline, the Elliot Bay, and, towards the end, Puget Sound views to the west into the Olympic Mountain Range.
While there are dozens more inner-city trails to choose from, these are our local favorites! Whether you’re in the north end or south end, there’s a trail only a few blocks from your front door.
What are your local favorite trails?