Tag Archive for 'Magnolia'

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