Tag Archive for 'view'

Walking Union Bay Natural Area

This trail through grassland takes you near wetlands that are popular with bird-watchers.

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Start near where Union Bay Pl NE changes to NE 41st St. There is street parking in the area, or a parking lot nearby if you will also be attending the UW Botanic Gardens. The 25, 65, and 75 buses stop about 1/4 mile away from the beginning of the path on NE 45th. The land is owned by the State of Washington and under the care of the University. It’s important to stay on the trail to protect local habitat. Union Bay Natural Area is mostly managed by volunteers who continually work to remove invasive species.

Where the street (Union Bay Pl NE) curves, there is a trail perpendicular to the sidewalk. Take this trail away from the street, passing by a small landscaped area with flowers and bushes.

Shortly after passing the building, you’ll pass a informative kiosk on your right, with information on the restoration in the area. Shortly after you reach the grassland and descend down a small incline, you will turn left when you reach the next path.

Union Bay Natural Area trail

Grassland of Union Bay Natural Area

This loop passes the water of Union Bay, with lily pads and different varieties of birds who make their homes near the wetlands. There’s also a view of the Rossellini (520) bridge and Bellevue.

View from Union Bay Natural Area

Bellevue and the Rossellini Bridge past Lake Washington

Continuing on, Husky Stadium will loom large in the distance. At a couple spots, the trail splits briefly into two trails just a few feet part. One of the paths seems newer, so volunteers working to restore the land may be planning to decommission the trail that is closer to threatened area. In any case, it doesn’t matter much, take whichever path you’d like.

You will soon return to the main trail turn right at the trail and head back to the entrance.

You’ll pass a trail leading to the left, which you might think would take you somewhere interesting, but it doesn’t really go anywhere worth going in a way worth getting there. So, continue back to the starting point at Union Bay Pl NE.

highlights: diverse natural habitats, view to east, gravel trail in good condition, birds in the area
lowlights: little shade, not much of an escape from the city as UW is visible at all times


Walking Discovery Park Beaches

Enjoy this walk through the forest and along the beaches at Discovery Park. It may be challenging for some due to the elevation change.

Discovery Park Beach Route

Start at the North Parking lot – the 33 bus ends here, or follow these driving directions.

Head west from the parking lot – there are two roads leading west from the parking lot, either one will work. There are some restrooms here if needed. Currently, the road that goes left is closed for construction. If that road is back open by the time you get around to hiking this, you can turn left and meet up with us along the Loop Trail, otherwise continue along the road that continues west. Soon, that road will curve left and go uphill. Continue on this road until you reach the Loop Trail, which crosses this road. Turn right onto the Loop Trail.

The loop trail will gradually descend and then cross another paved road. Just past the road, veer right on the Hidden Valley Trail. The Hidden Valley Trail takes you through a densely forested area of the park and descends, sometimes rather steeply, on your way towards the water. It also takes you near the King County Wastewater Treatment Facility.

There will be a sidewalk on your right that will take you further down toward the beach. You will reach a road that you will cross along a marked crosswalk. After crossing the road, feel free to step off the trail to enjoy the view. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see Mount Rainier between the southern bluffs of Magnolia on the left and West Seattle on the right.

Mount Rainier

View from the South Beach of Discovery Park

Go ahead and find a log to sit on and enjoy the view. If it’s a good day, you’ll be able to easily ignore the sometimes off-putting smell of the sound and any trash or dead geoducks on the beach.

Get back on a trail and head westward toward the lighthouse. There are two trails that converge, so either one is fine. Once you reach the trail intersection, you can go straight towards the lighthouse if you want to check it out first. Otherwise, veer right to head toward the North Beach.

The trail will take you back across the road and toward the north beach. From here you can see northeast toward Shilshole Bay Marina and Golden Gardens Park. This trail parallels the waterline for about 2/3 of a mile. After several hundred feet, the beach ends and the trail is separated from the water by trees and a human-made rocky shoreline.

Just as the beach ends, there is a very short detour on your left that will take you by the wetlands. The trail is well-shaded around the wetlands, but then is exposed to the water for much of the rest of the way.

Eventually the trail will turn right and you’ll be directed inland where you’ll have to climb quite a few stairs. This is the difficult part of the journey.

After all the stairs, you will reach a split in the trail – take the less-worn path on the left. This will take you back to a road, which you’ll continue on, past a closed restroom, and then will turn left to re-join the Loop Trail.

Or, if you’d like to keep walking and join up with our Walking Discovery Park Loop Trail walking route, you’d turn right at the Loop Trail.

From here you’ll just backtrack by the way we came. At the next road, the Loop Trail may be closed. If so, turn left and follow this road to the parking lot. If not, continue on the loop trail to the next road, where you’ll turn left and follow this road to the parking lot.

highlights: view from the beaches, forest, lighthouse

lowlights: a bit of a hike if all you want to see is the beach


Walking Phinney Ridge

This neighborhood near Woodland Park Zoo is a pleasant neighborhood that’s worth a stroll through.

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Start near the zoo along Phinney Ave N. The 5 bus will take you right there. There is also street parking in the area, click for driving directions.

Head north along Phinney Ave. The zoo entrance is on your right, and there is also a large water tower. Soon, you’ll walk along a short bridge over 57th St.

This area was served by a streetcar starting in 1906. The street is lined with historic apartment buildings, stores, churches, and houses.

Home along Phinney Ave N

Home along Phinney Ave N

Despite a being such a narrow street, 65th St is an east-west arterial, which you’ll cross over shortly.

Shortly after that you’ll reach the Phinney Neighborhood Center, which is housed in the original Allen School building. The Center hosts various community events, including art exhibits and classes.

Follow the road as it veers left and aligns with Greenwood Ave N. You’ll pass by the original location of Red Mill Burgers, one of the more popular burger joints in town.

On the left, you’ll pass Espresso Dental – a uniquely Seattle kind of a place.

Continue walking for several more blocks. At 80th St, turn right and continue for another block to turn right on Dayton Ave N.

This section of the walk is residential with occasional views to the east toward Green Lake. Watch carefully for cross traffic as the hills can make these intersections dangerous.

Green Lake from Dayton Ave

Green Lake from Dayton Ave, watch out for traffic

Be especially careful crossing 65th St. Pedestrians do have the right of way here. Go left along 65th for half a block, before turning right back along Dayton Ave N. After a block along Dayton Ave N, turn right on 64th and left again to stay along Dayton Ave N.

Enjoy the landscaped houses that you walk past and continue to N 59th St and turn right. Then, turn left on Phinney Ave N and return to your starting location.

highlights: places to eat and shop along Phinney Ave, peaceful neighborhood, nicely landscaped homes

lowlights: many intersections to cross


Walking Aurora and Dexter

Highway 99 isn’t a popular pedestrian route, but the segment on the east side of Queen Anne Hill is surprisingly sheltered and comfortable, leading to beautiful views from the Aurora Bridge. Dexter Ave N is a nice residential street for a stroll on the way back.

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Start at Aurora and Mercer. The 5, 16, 26, 28, and 358 buses will get you very close, or there is some street parking along Dexter just a block east.

Head north along the east side of Aurora. Across the highway is the Church of Scienology, with its large Dianetics advertisement. Up ahead you’ll see a large neon Pepsi sign. The original sign, installed in 1958, was globe-shaped and was replaced by the current version in 1998.

Neon Pepsi sign

Neon Pepsi sign, installed in 1998

After passing a parking lot on the right, Aloha Street is the last through street that you’ll have to cross for over a mile. The sidewalk is insulated from the street by a row of trees that provide a surprising amount of shade and protection from rain (as I learned from experience). And, while the buildings aren’t really pedestrian-oriented, they combine with the trees to provide a surprisingly comfortable walking experience.

Sidewalk along Aurora

Greenery along Aurora

There are a few breaks in the trees and the buildings as you pass by some parking lots and car repair businesses. There is also a courtyard and some other viewpoints where you can overlook Lake Union and look across to Capitol Hill.

View from Aurora of Lake Union

View from Aurora of Lake Union

On your right are several staircases down toward Dexter Ave. The street will veer left. This is one of the more uncomfortable parts of the walk, as you can see where some vehicles have left the roadway.
On the opposite side of the street is the Aloha Inn Transitional Housing.

Flattened bushes and sign near the sidewalk

Flattened bushes and sign

You’ll pass by Seattle Hydroponics, which sells lights and other materials for growing plants without soil, a more efficient way to grow plants. You’ll see their large revolving lights through the window as you pass by.

The east side of Queen Anne hill is interesting, as there are several old, non-descript buildings, including a couple homes and the Hillside Motel.

Nestled in the hill along Aurora

House and garage nestled in the hill along Aurora

At one point you’ll pass over a quiet one-lane road, which is the southbound exit from Aurora to Dexter Ave. Shortly after that is Lynn St, which you’re free to take, as it curves right back around to Aurora.

The George Washington Memorial Bridge is close ahead. Feel free to walk as far along it as you wish. It offers a beautiful view east including Wallingford and Gas Works Park on Lake Union.

Dexter Ave & Lake Union

Dexter Ave & Lake Union from the George Washington Bridge

There is a staircase to pass under the highway if you’d like to look out on the west side toward Fremont, Ballard, and the Olympic Mountains. The bridge was opened to traffic in 1932 and has been the site of over 230 suicides becoming the second deadliest suicide bridge in the US. Phones and posters were installed as a deterrent, but some groups are campaigning for the installation of a safety net or protective barrier.

Sign and phone on the G Washington Bridge

Sign and phone on the G Washington Bridge

Head back south along the east side of Aurora. Cross the first street you pass, Halliday St, and then turn left on it. If you turn left on it before you cross, you’ll reach an awkward little intersection with no crosswalks where the sidewalk just ends. Continue along Halliday St as it curves right and turns into 6th Ave N. You’ll pass a park and p-patch under construction on your right before reaching Dexter Ave N.

Go right on Dexter to head south. This is a nice little neighborhood and is similar to Eastlake, though without the commercial center or new condos.

Old building along Dexter Ave

Old building along Dexter Ave

Swedish Cultural Center

Swedish Cultural Center along Dexter

Aluminum garage door

Plenty of aluminum on this apartment building's garage door

Warning, Car Approaching

Watch out, pedestrians

Enjoy the stroll on this quiet street as you head back toward our starting point at Mercer.

highlights: few driveways to cross over along Aurora, trees provide good cover and insulation from the street, Dexter Ave is a nice residential street, good views from the bridge
lowlights: few commercial places to stop for a drink, lack of public space, fast traffic along Aurora


Walking Lake Washington Blvd

A long (6.5 mi) scenic walk along Lake Washington on the eastern edge of Seattle with views toward Bellevue and the Cascade Mountains.

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You can start along this route anywhere you please. Our walking route will start at Seward Park. You can get here by vehicle or by taking the 39 bus.

Head north along the sidewalk. To your right is Bailey Peninsula, home of Seward Park. Depending on the weather, there may be quite a few boaters anchored in the water here.

As will be the case throughout most of this walk, here are quite a few impressive homes perched upon the hill overlooking the Lake.

After a short walk, the sidewalk will diverge from the road briefly to stay near the water, as it will do occasionally along the lake.

You will veer left and pass another parking lot and a conglomeration of water lilies near the shore near Lakewood Moorage.

A little farther along you will reach Sayres Memorial Park, named after Stanley Sayres who brought hydroplane racing to Seattle. This park is used to launch hydroplanes during the annual Seafair festival and is also home of the Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center.

It’s about another mile until you get to I-90 and there is not much in between except for a couple piers that will take you farther out into the beautiful blue of the lake. Lake Washington Blvd will veer left at Lake Washington Blvd Park and pass through Colman Park, but feel free to continue along Lakeside Ave S to enjoy the flat ground and stay near the lake.

A row of houses will interrupt the view of the lake around this point, but some of these homes are sights in themselves. I-90 marks the halfway point between Seward Park and Madison Park.

After passing some apartments, you’ll encounter the only commercial area along the walk, including some upscale lakeside dining. There are some parking lots in this area, so you’ll have to be careful for vehicle traffic.

You’ll encounter some slight elevation gain and another row of houses between the path and the water. You’ll pass by Viretta Park and then a complex intersection. Washington Blvd goes into Lakeview Park. Stay along McGilvra Ave E.

Continue north past the Seattle Tennis Club and into the neighborhood of Madison Park. Here you can start the short Madison Park walking route or get a bus ride back into downtown Seattle via the 11 bus. Or feel free to head 6.5 miles back to where we started.

highlights: Uninterrupted path with no streets to cross, lake views, beautiful homes, several parks

lowlights: A few parking lots, some interruptions to the lake view, not many places to stop for a drink


Walking Madison Park

Madison Park on the shore of Lake Washington is a peaceful place to walk with a small village of shops and restaurants.

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Madison Park used to be a popular destination for Seattlites in the early 20th century. A cable car ran from downtown to the lake. Until 1950, there was a ferry that took passengers across the lake to Kirkland.

Start at E Madison St and E McGilvra St. There is street parking in the area, or you can get here by the 11 bus.

Head northeast on Madison St along the southeast side of the street, passing retail establishments on both sides of the street. At E Blaine St, turn right. You’ll pass by the tennis courts of Madison Park on your left before reaching 43rd Ave E.

Cross 43rd Ave E before turning left. On your right is the Madison Park beach. Feel free to stop at a bench or walk down to the water for a view across lake Washington toward the Cascade Mountains and Bellevue.

Then, continue north along 43rd Ave E until you reach E Madison St. This intersection is a little unclear for pedestrians, but traffic should be light. Cross over to the northwest side of E Madison St when you can and head southwest along E Madison St.

Feel free to stop and enjoy a meal or drink at one of the restaurants you walk by. Otherwise, continue through this main part of Madison Park back to our starting point at McGilvra Blvd E.

Our short walk ends at McGilvra Blvd E & E Madison St, but feel free to explore the nearby upscale residential area or head back to the park and the water before heading home.

highlights: view across Lake Washington, quiet tree-lined streets, restaurants, park

lowlights: may be a little too upscale for some, park is a little small, can become crowded on a summer weekend day


Walking the Central Waterfront

The Central Waterfront is a fun walk on a clear day, though it can become crowded with tourists. It offers good views of the mountains and the city and shops to browse and places to eat.

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Start at the Ferry Terminal at Alaskan Way and Marion St (Pier 52). There is limited parking in the area, but you can get there via the 16, 66, or 99 buses.

Then, walk north along the west side of Alaskan Way. Shortly after you start, you’ll pass Fire Station Number 5, which you can tour (if scheduled in advance).

Continuing, you’ll pass an ice cream shop, Seattle’s beloved Ivar’s Acres of Clams, and Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on Pier 54. It can get crowded, so you’ll probably need to keep a leisurely pace.

At Pier 55, you can catch the Elliott Bay Water Taxi to West Seattle in the summer. Or, Argosy Cruises operates cruises around Elliott Bay year-round.

As you continue, you’ll pass more touristy shops and seafood restaurants. You’ll then get to Waterfront Park, which has fountains, and benches, and telescopes for appreciating the view.

Next is the Seattle Aquarium. Soon on your right will be a large crosswalk, which you can take toward Pike Place Market and downtown.

As you keep walking, soon you’ll reach a large wood pier to your left. Though it’s often underused, this is a public park that you can walk out onto to get a view of Mount Rainier (if it’s out), or at least Safeco Field and Qwest Field.

Seattle Skyline from Pier 62/63

Looking toward the city from Pier 62/63

We’ve passed the main tourism area, so rest of the walk along Alaskan Way will be a little quieter. You’ll pass The Edgewater hotel, which hosted the Beatles in 1964 and Led Zeppelin (who were banned from the hotel after their 2nd visit). At Pier 69, which is where you can catch the Victoria Clipper which will take you to Victoria, British Columbia.

From here, it’s not much farther until you reach Olympic Sculpture Park.

After exploring the park, feel free to continue walking along the waterfront through Myrtle Edwards Park, or walk a few blocks back and catch free bus #99 back to where we started.

Highlights: Scenic views, touristy shops, seafood, water, Aquarium, parks (Waterfront and Pier 62/63), Olympic Sculpture Park

Lowlights: can have lots of tourists, can be breezy and cooler than elsewhere in the city, may be too touristy for some people


Walking Burke-Gilman from Fremont to Gas Works Park

The Burke-Gilman trail is 27 miles of a former rail line that has been converted to a pedestrian and bike path. We’ll be taking the relatively short walk from Fremont to Gas Works Park.

View Walking Burke-Gilman from Fremont to Gas Works Park in a larger map

You can get here easily via the 26, 28, 30, or 31 bus. You can also drive and park, but free parking can be hard to find.

Start in downtown Fremont at Fremont Ave N and N 34th St. Feel free to grab something to eat here before beginning, or something to drink along the way.

Head east on the south side of N 34th St, past Waiting for the Interurban, where aluminum statues are often decorated with clothes or other decorations.

We’ll cut through the plaza on the right to get to the trail. You’ll go down a few sets of stairs toward N Northlake Way. Cross the road and turn left. As you pass under the Aurora Bridge, to your right you may see some boats going toward Lake Union or toward Puget Sound.

After passing the bridge, you’ll cross N Northlake Way again and head north along the Aurora Bridge for a hundred feet or so. As you walk behind a couple buildings, there’s not a whole lot to look at, which is good because you may need to concentrate on staying out of the way of any bicyclists.

You’ll cross Stone Way N and continue east. The trail is marked for bicyclists and pedestrians, so be sure to stay on the correct side. The trail is insulated from the street with a row of trees and lined with other greenery.

As you cross N Northlake Pl, you’ll see a gravel parking lot for Gas Works Park on your right. You can walk through the parking lot to get to Gas Works Park, or continue walking and just after crossing Densmore Ave N, cross N Northlake Way to your right to enter the park between a gap in the wall.

Our specific walking route ends here, so feel free to explore Gas Works Park on your own. Be sure to enjoy the view of Seattle and the skyline across Lake Union. There are also picnic tables, a kite flying hill, and of course the historic gasification plant.

Highlights: Great views from Gas Works Park, art and landscaping under Aurora Bridge, places to eat and drink in Fremont, sculptures in Fremont

Lowlights: Trail can be crowded, not much to look at between Aurora Bridge and Gas Works Park


Walking Seward Park

Seward Park is a large park on a peninsula extending into Lake Washington in the southeast part of the city. The trail around the perimeter of the park is a great place for a lake-side stroll.

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You can get here by vehicle or by taking the 39 bus.

We’ll start at the park entrance at Lake Washington Blvd S and S Juneau St. Between the entry and exit lanes at the entrance is a small wooded area, which has a stone lantern from the city of Yokohama.

From here, veer right so as to go counter clockwise around the peninsula. There is a sidewalk that parallels the parking lot. You can take this sidewalk or walk through the parking lot to be closer to the water. On a clear day, you’ll soon see Mount Rainier to the right, which looks beautiful behind the water of Lake Washington and the forested hill of Mercer Island.

Mount Rainier from Seward Park

Mount Rainier on a clear summer day from the south shore of Seward Park

As you continue walking, the path will curve left along the shore and head north. The path widens in this area as well, which is good since Seward Park is a popular place for families, joggers, and walkers. This area of the park is well shaded in the afternoon. Across the water to the right you’ll see the boat docks and extravagant homes on Mercer Island.

The path stays fairly straight for a while, until it reaches the northern tip of the park, where the shore bends to the left. From here you can see the I-90 bridge across the water to the north and depending on the time of day and time of year, you might have some sun in your eyes, especially on a summer afternoon. There is a beach on your right, which is popular with children. You can also see the tops of some buildings in Seattle’s skyline.

You’ll walk westward for less than 1,000 feet before turning left to go southward along the west side of the peninsula. You may see several boats parked in this part of the water. There are also some calm parts along the shore that are covered with plant life.

As you get closer to the entrance, you’ll pass the bathhouse and art studio. There is another beach in this area. You can circumnavigate the small parking lot here by staying along the sidewalk, or continue straight. Soon you’ll be back at where we started, and our walk finishes there at the Seward Park entrance.

Highlights: wide path, forest, beautiful view of Mount Rainier, surrounded by Lake Washington, beach, quiet, picnic tables

Lowlights: parking lots sometimes get in the way of sidewalks, can be busy, parking can be difficult to find within the park, not conveniently located


Walking Alki

Alki in West Seattle is a popular place to go on any sunny day. This walk takes you alongside the water for a great view of the city and the skyline, then a view across the water towards the Olympic Mountains. There’s also a beach and several places to stop and eat or have a drink.

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You can get there by taking the Water Taxi, the 37 bus on weekdays, or by taking the Harbor Ave exit from the West Seattle bridge.

We’ll start our walk along Harbor Ave SW near Fairmount Ave SW, close to Salty’s on Alki and just south of the Water Taxi dock.

The main sidewalk parallels the road, but there are also paved paths that take you closer to the water for better views of the city.

Seattle skyline from Alki

You’ll pass a couple parking lots as you approach Duwamish Head, the northernmost point in West Seattle. After curving past Duwamish Head, there is a pier that you can walk out onto for a good panoramic view and to get a good final look at the skyline before continuing on the west side of Alki.

Now that we’re on the west side of Alki, this part of the path is often very busy on sunny days with bikers, joggers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, and other walkers.

You’ll walk this way for about a mile before reaching Alki Beach, but that mile will pass by quickly as you enjoy the view and people watching.

At Alki Beach Park you’ll start to see several places to stop to eat or grab a drink. You can also sit in the sand, play beach volleyball, or go swim in the (cold) water, or watch others doing any of those things.

Olympic Mountains from Alki Beach

Our walk ends at the Alki Beach bathhouse, but you could continue toward Alki Point and the lighthouse, or stay and enjoy the beach.

Highlights: great view of the city and mountains, wide sidewalk, people-watching, places to stop and eat or drink

Lowlights: sidewalk can get crowded, can be windy and colder than elsewhere in the city