Sprawled across 534-acres of protected forests, beaches, prairies, and bluffs on the northwestern tip of Magnolia. As Seattle’s largest park, “Discovery” contains 11.81 miles of walking trails, a historic lighthouse site, the Discovery Park Visitors Center, and endless beach fun. Perched on Magnolia Bluff, the massive park overlooks Puget Sound and offers amazing views of both the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges.
Active preservation projects act as a preventative to damage and overgrowth, but the city of Seattle aims for the park to remain as natural and fresh as possible for local and visitor enjoyment. The Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center offers year-round programs, which are updated on their website and offer hands-on learning experiences that instill and enhance outdoor learning, employing games, props, and team activities.
In 2017, Discovery Park experienced a massive overhaul and renovation to its play area including updated play equipment, improved safety features, and increased accessibility, as well as new picnic tables and view seating.
While not all trails are named, the Discovery Park Loop Trail runs 2.8-miles through the park, intersecting with several other unmarked trails that explore deeper into the woods. Starting – or ending, depending on how you look at it, at the Discovery Park South Parking Lot explore the southern prairies, views from atop the Magnolia Bluff, and into the woods, connecting with Scheuerman Creek. Or, you could always head west on the South Beach Trail and enjoy the West Point Light House and beach.
Situated on the half-rocky, half-sandy shores of the Magnolia Bluff, the West Point Lighthouse is rich with history. Though the function of the lighthouse has been shifted to a modernized version, the lighthouse remains a beacon of the past.
From there, take the North Beach Trail along the shoreline and into the forest groves, where you’ll intersect with other trails after a few serene miles of glistening waterfront and rustling leaves.
Several species thrive within Discovery Park’s borders. Shilshole and Elliot Bays are both homes to harbor seals and California sea lions, and Townsend chipmunks. Birdwatchers enthuse about the park, enjoying the 270 species of birds seen in the park or in the nearby waters in a list compiled by the Seattle Audubon Society.
Open meadows, dramatic seal cliffs, streams, active forestry, and sandy dunes are all alive and well within the parks borders – and within over 530-acres, you can get lost in the parks endless and natural preservation while also never being too far from a street or trail leading back to something recognizable. With overwhelmingly positive notes, the local area thoroughly enjoys Discovery Park and all it offers.
Have you every visited Discovery Park? If you haven’t we highly suggest it, and if you have, what are your favorite parts and experiences?
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