Schmitz Preserve Park is the only Seattle park with old-growth forest and is a beautifully forested area that makes you feel like you’re in the foothills of the Cascades rather than in West Seattle.
Start at SW Admiral Way and SW Stevens St, which you can get to by the 56 bus. By car, the directions would have you take the West Seattle bridge to the Admiral Way exit and take Admiral Way across West Seattle and turn left on SW Stevens St, where you can often find street parking near the park entrance.
Enter the park entrance near the SW Admiral Way and SW Stevens St intersection. The road into the park used to be open to vehicle traffic until a landslide in 2002. Though this is a fairly small park, there are several different unsigned trails. If you take a wrong turn, it won’t be too difficult to find your way back. The trail can be somewhat uneven and muddy, but is not too difficult overall.
Walk along the main park road and, at the fork in the trail, veer right downhill. At the next fork, take a left before crossing the creek.
Continue walking and you’ll cross over the stream a couple times. Keep right at the next intersection (turning left will take you back to the entrance) and continue deeper into the park. There are some sections of the park soil that remain damp, though fortunately there are a few boardwalks that keep your feet dry over the worst parts.
You’ll approach an intersection of several different trails. The left-most path will take you into the surrounding neighborhood. Take the trail second from left even farther into the park. The other trails on the right will take you back along the other side of the creek.
This path continues along the stream. Turn right at the next fork to loop back, otherwise you will enter the surrounding neighborhood.
This section of the trail is fairly straight and a little elevated from the creek. Stay straight along this main trail and after passing a side trail to the left, you’ll reach another intersection. Turn right here to cross the creek and the next intersection may seem familiar. Turn left and then left again to return to the main entrance.
Highlights: old growth forest, quiet, not very busy, multiple trails, cool and damp, stream
Lowlights: can be muddy, unsigned trails