A guest blog by Tim Eyre of Extra Space Storage describes his favorite walks in Seattle.
A Non-Native’s Favorite Walking Escapes in Seattle
Blog by Tim Eyre
Posted by Rose Petersky
June 29, 2012
Working from the road has its ups-and-downs, but with travel as a constant in my job, it’s important to find a way to unwind. My go-to vehicles of escape are a bicycle (when a rental is available) and my hiking shoes.
Among all the cities I visit for work, Seattle easily ranks at the top for walkability. I’m a relative newcomer, arriving for my first week last October, but I’ve eagerly returned twice since then. It’s hard to imagine a city that better blends a walkable urban downtown with accessible escapes into nature.
After work, I’ve made a point to explore various areas of town with the remaining daylight left. I’m continuously amazed by both the people I meet and the parks and wild areas I’ve discovered. Here are a few of my favorite strolls:
Golden Gardens Park
This place remains etched in my memory as my first real walk in Seattle. It just blew me away that I could escape so easily from the city in fifteen minutes, exploring wetlands along the beach. Although the park is small, I took my time wandering between trails that wound along a ridge over the ocean and then down to the beach. Along the trail, I spotted a hummingbird, which another hiker identified for me as a redheaded Anna’s hummingbird. Back on the beach, I sat in quiet reflection, soaking up what might be the best views across Puget Sound in suburban Seattle.
Just a bit farther afield than Golden Gardens, Carkeek literally floored me. I wanted a park with real trails and an escape from the city, and Carkeek fit the bill. Parking at the main entrance, I set out along the Fern Glen Trail, veering left onto the Piper’s Creek Trail. After about a half mile, this footpath dead-ends, so I ventured back until reaching the South Ridge Trail on my left. Wandering through dense forest, with woodpeckers providing the soundtrack, I lost myself in the tranquility before reaching the coast at the South Bluff Trail. Wandering the beach, a tiny strip of rocky sand between Puget Sound and what must be one of the most scenic railways in the nation, I made my way to the park’s northern edge and its series of meadows lined by fir trees. Somewhere along the way, I had to pinch myself to remember that I was in a major city.
19th Avenue Circuit
On a rainy day less fit for hiking, I decided to explore Squire Park and Little Ethiopia on foot. Setting out from Pratt Park, I headed north along 19th Avenue, all the way to the Firehouse playground at the intersection with Cherry Street. From here, I turned left into Little Ethiopia. I’ve always been a fan of Ethiopian food, and I found a quality offering in Assimba, on Cherry Street. After an early dinner of injera (Ethiopian flat bread) with several varieties of wat (stew-like dips), I wandered back out onto 12th Avenue, making my requisite pilgrimage to Doc Hamilton’s Barbecue Pit. My belly full and a long way from where I’d started, I walked through the campus of Seattle University to Broadway, then caught a bus back to my hotel.
What is most remarkable about a two-hour walk through Seattle is the variety of people that one encounters. From Vietnamese temples to Haitians hanging out in the street, every major culture on earth is represented in Seattle. And it’s not every city where you can stop in mid-walk for an Ethiopian snack.
The Alki Trail
If I only have an hour before sunset after work, the Alki Trail has become my go-to spot. Just minutes by cab from downtown, the trail’s five miles offer a beachfront escape that’s worlds away from the bustle of the city. Walkers share the trail with bikers and joggers, as well as flocks of geese that hang out along the Sound hoping for a handout. The friendly, paved trail is enjoyable whether you walk its entirety or just a small portion, with wide panoramas of the Olympic Range, framed by sailboats and steam ships cruising the Sound in the foreground.
This visitor’s recommendations are far from complete. Seattle’s walking options outshine most cities in the country — East Coast urban areas would kill for escapes of this caliber. Here in the wild Pacific Northwest, it’s just par for the course, but one that locals shouldn’t take for granted. If it’s been awhile since you’ve gotten out and explored your city, don’t wait another day. Spring has sprung and the trails are waiting.
Tim Eyre is the Interactive Marketing Manager for Extra Space Storages, regularly traveling to see locations that have self-storage units in Seattle. Tim helps folks in the Pacific Northwest store seasonal equipment when it’s not being used for outdoor activities.