Walking Discovery Park Loop Trail

Discovery Park is a popular place to go for a walk on a nice sunny day. While there are numerous trails, the Loop Trail provides an enjoyable and relatively easy 2.8 mile journey through the park.

Discovery Park has three main parking areas, a North Parking Lot, an East Parking Lot, and a South Parking Lot. You can also get there by taking the 19, 24, or 33 buses from downtown.

The park has directional signs at most intersections so it’s pretty easy to find the Loop Trail from wherever you enter the park. And, being a loop, you can go clockwise or counter-clockwise, depending on your preference.

Our route will Start heading counter-clockwise at the East Parking Lot. Unfortunately, the walking route from the parking lot isn’t especially clear, but head toward the main road and you’ll soon see a sign for the Loop Trail.

Along the way, you’ll cross other trails that can take you on side trips, such as down to the water. However, the Loop Trail itself offers some good views. Most of the trail is forested with moderate changes in elevation. There are many trees and logs and in the winter months you’ll see plenty of moss.

Moss-covered rock

The moist winters can leave natural elements covered with a thick layer of moss

Aside from crossing a couple roads, some of which are no longer used by vehicles, there’s not much to interrupt the beautiful northwest forest. If you’re walking counter-clockwise, you’ll eventually cross a street and pass by a military housing development that is part of Fort Lawton. After ascending a hill, you’ll see a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.

Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound

People stop to rest and observe the view

After you’ve taken in the view, you can continue on. This section of the trail is very different, as there are no trees, possibly due to building Fort Lawton. You can read a little more of the history of the Park at HistoryLink.org. You’ll also see a large radar across the field.

Radar across a field at Discovery Park

Radar across a field at Discovery Park

Continuing on, you’ll pass by some public restrooms and will re-enter some more forested area and pass by the South Parking Lot. As you look to the distance on your right, you’ll see the Fort Lawton Cemetery. Though the trail splits off somewhat around this section, just continue walking and you’ll soon return to the Discovery Park Visitors Center and East Parking Lot

Highlights: beautiful natural area, trees, trail normally in good condition, forest, well-labeled, alternative trails, view, public restrooms

Lowlights: can be busy with children, dogs, and joggers, trail can be hard to find around parking lots

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