Urban Hiking: Seward Park

Last weekend was the gorgeous spring day that tricks you into believing summer is around the corner. I see many trails were abuzz with hikers. I decided to stick close to home and explore a beautiful lakeside park in Seattle–Seward Park.

I had plans to meet Jennie from Ordinary Adventures. I’ve been sharing her posts on Facebook lately–she blogs about hiking and travel in the PNW, and her post on Mt. St. Helens inspired me to get a permit for the climb this year! If you like my posts, you should check her blog out. Because I was excited to talk trails and gear, I figured a more low-key trail would be a great idea so I didn’t miss any good sights while deep in conversation–or turn an ankle!

A recently downed tree. This park is highly unsafe in times of high wind and typically suffers great storm damage from felled trees and limbs.

This swath of land has been owned by the city of Seattle since 1911. I actually grew up having cross-country races and charity 5Ks at Seward Park, but this was my first trip here in well over a decade. There was a charity run going on when we showed up, which made parking a challenge. However, once we met up and set out on the paved path for walkers and bikers, it was worth it. You start with stunning views of Mt. Rainier to the south, but as you curve northward, your eye is drawn inland to the madrona trees prime for bald eagles and other birds.

One of many little trails that takes you up and away from the paved lake shore loop.

A loop around the lake on the aptly-named Shore Loop Road is about 2.4 miles around. There is ample beach space here, including launch areas for hand-carried watercraft. However, inland there are several trails that let you leave the pavement and explore the woods. Do take heed here to stay on the trail, as there is poison oak scattered about the park. While the differently-named trails all intertwine, between good signage and Google Maps having the trails it would be difficult to get lost. We went uphill at the Andrews Bay trail and made an interior loop before rejoining the main paved trail. Bird enthusiasts might enjoy the Woodpecker trail, as well as a stop at the park’s Environmental & Audubon center.

A Great Blue Heron spied from the Shore Loop Road

This park has tons to offer–besides the trails and beaches there is a playground, picnic tables, grills, tennis courts, and in summer months a swimming beach with a lifeguard on duty. It is a great option for all-ages, year-round!


*Note: At the time of writing this post, there is a ton of construction going on in the neighborhoods around this post. Also, my Google Maps had directions that ended in the middle of the street (the street after I needed to turn for the park, naturally). Look up a route in advance and pack your patience, just in case!



In summary:

Distance: Choose your own adventure, paved perimeter loop is 2.4 miles.

Elevation: Flat on perimeter loop but hills inland

Parking: No pass required

Bathrooms: Flushing toilets near the playground

Best Beer Bet: Flying Lion Brewing in Columbia City is 1.5 miles from the park.


5 Replies to “Urban Hiking: Seward Park”

  1. Such a great place for an urban adventure with awesome views! Great report!

    1. Thanks! Those views really are amazing!

  2. Summer is getting close!

    1. Mama Boots says: Reply

      It has been many years since I visited Seward Park also. I will definitely visit again soon. I had forgotten what a great park it is.

      1. There were parts of the park I hardly recognized! Just remember parking could be tight on a weekend.

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