Tag Archive for 'walking route'

Five Footpaths Blending Nature with City Living

A Visitor’s Impressions on Strolling Seattle’s Walking Trails

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Tim Eyre]

Walking may be a last-resort mode of transportation for many car and bicycle owners, but in my life (traveling around the country on a weekly basis for work) it’s how I stay fit and sane. Urban dwellers, pressed for time, often hop into their cars or rely on public transportation to get from point A to point B. Sometimes, it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day to venture outdoors on foot.

Seattle, already regarded as one of the most traversable cities in the U.S., is opening up troves of scenic foot paths, setting the stage for cities from coast to coast to design more walking-friendly layouts. It’s put the city at the top of my list on my regular work circuit, thanks to the chance to stroll right out of urban life and into nature.

Whether setting out with a destination in mind, or in the mood to meander along a scenic pathway, Seattle features a handful of noteworthy walking trails that beckon you to ditch your car or skip the next bus heading to town.

Over three weeks since my first work visit to Seattle last fall, I’ve made it a point to explore on foot. The area, I discovered quickly, features a nexus of scenic walking routes that lead to and from Downtown.

Burke-Gilman-Sammamish River Trail

(Photo by Joe Mabel)

A major corridor for urban dwellers, the bustling Burke-Gilman trail stretches roughly 27 miles one way, passing through a variety of neighborhoods and parks with multiple access points that connect schools and businesses throughout the area. A day after arriving in Seattle, I found myself on the trail, which follows the once heavily traveled railroad line of the Burlington Northern Railroad, running from Downtown to Bothell, then switching over to the Sammamish River Trail that runs to Redmond.

Speckled with farms, wineries and luxurious lakeshore homes — not to mention remarkable vistas of the Downtown skyline — I realized in no time why natives recommended I check out the trail, deemed by many as the most well-known trail among the area’s urban routes.

Chief Sealth Trail

Connecting Beacon Hill with Rainier Valley, the Chief Sealth Trail winds around more than three-and-a-half miles of hills undulating throughout the city’s Southeastern corner (http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/transportation/chiefsealthtrail.htm). The trail was built with recycled materials, including repurposed soil and concrete, cutting through a variety of affluent and middle-class neighborhoods.

Commuters heading to work come and go, as various access points connect walkers to the Sound Transit Link Light Rail stations. Plans are in the works to open up more access to Downtown, I hear. But for now, the brisk one-hour walk — stretching from the South Beacon Avenue-South Dawson Street intersection to the South 56th Avenue-South Gazelle Street intersection — serves as a window into Seattle’s suburban life.

Interurban Trail

About two miles into the 14-mile trail, I learned from a passerby that I was following a route traveled until 1939 by Seattle’s Interurban Trolley.

The trail, now frequently used by commuters traveling between South King County and Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, Renton and Downtown, sets out near Fort Dent Park, crossing over the Green River and dipping beneath Interstate 405.

Views of landscapes and historic industrial towns filled my peripheral before I crossed into the breathtaking Green River Valley, causing me to draw a deep breath and soak up the serene setting before taking the next step.

Weaving in and out of remote stretches and crowded junctures, the Interurban Trail epitomizes Seattle’s pursuit to fuse nature with city-living.

Alki Trail

alki beach
(Photo by Joe Mabel)

Accompanied by walkers, joggers and bicyclists on a fair-weathered spring afternoon, I set out from the northeastern shorelines of Alki Beach along this five-mile trail (http://www.rei.com/guidepost/detail/washington/hiking/alki-trail/3030). Flocks of geese glided periodically over Puget Sound, with the Olympic Mountains presiding in the distance.

Along the breezy walkway, running past Harbor Island to West Seattle over the swing bridge on Southwest Spokane Street, and eventually winding north on Southwest Harbor Avenue along the Elliot Bay shoreline, numerous sail and steamboats cruised the waters. I’d recommend this route highly to visitors and locals alike.

Ship Canal Trail

Rustic maritime industrial neighborhoods speckle this peaceful trail, which runs along a canal from the Fremont Bridge, passing alongside Seattle Pacific University and Lake Union. I encountered numerous dog walkers and joggers along the trail, though other stretches proved remote and less busy.

A three-quarter-mile extension of the water-lined trail, I learned, was completed in November, opening up access to Downtown. The trail also links the Burke-Gilman Trail with the Emerson Street bike path — one of many junctures threading together Seattle’s trail system.

Tim Eyre works in the self storage industry, regularly traveling to see locations that have
self storage units in Seattle. In locations near the Vancouver self storage facility, Tim helps folks in the Pacific Northwest store seasonal equipment when it’s not being used for outdoor activities.


Seattle Stairs features 30 stairway walks

Looking for somewhere to walk? Susan Ott Ralph’s Seattle Stairs website has created a guide to 30 stairway walks throughout the city. Each walk features its own downloadable map and guide altogether they add up to 100 miles of walking across 428 stairways with 27,394 steps. The site features photos and step-counts on 650 stairways total in the city.


Stairway Walk in Fremont

If you’re looking for somewhere to walk this week to take advantage of the mostly sunny weather in the forecast, Seattle Stairway Walks shares a route through Fremont:

In 120 years of existence Fremont has undergone a long series of economic and social upheavals, played out in a tiny yet complicated geography of just 1.4 square miles. Out of this crucible has emerged a neighborhood with more color, energy and visual interest than perhaps any other in Seattle.

The Ship Canal marks the southern border of Fremont, and its lowest elevation. The terrain rises to the north, jumping from one small hill to another in the direction of Phinney Ridge. Where there are hills there are often stairways, and this walk traverses many of them. You’ll start with a short stroll along the wonderful 18-mile long Burke-Gilman Trail, which runs alongside the Ship Canal on its way through Fremont. Turning away from the canal and trail you’ll head north, climbing gradually up residential streets and stairways to Fremont Peak Park, near the northern limits of the neighborhood. After enjoying the park’s stunning views you’ll head back, exploring a charming series of stairs and narrow lanes along the eastern side of the neighborhood.

Click here to read more.

If you’d like to continue exploring Fremont, or walk it on more level ground, our Walking in Fremont walking route takes you through downtown Fremont.