Seattle is such a walkable city, scenic parks, paths and trails are abound. I love to go for short runs and walks in and around the city, so I decided to compile a list – the top 5 best walks in and around Seattle, Washington. Whether you are a resident or visiting, they are definitely worth a stroll.

1. Discovery Park


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One of my all time favorite walks, this 2.8 mile long main trail loops you through sweeping ocean vistas and beautiful lush forest. Its pretty amazing to think that you are only minutes from Seattle’s downtown on this walk as it really is quite a contrast from the hustle and bustle of the city. The main path is a narrow dirt trail winding through forest and ocean bluffs with a few historical coast guard quarters scattered about. There is a great little side hike down to the light house point along the beach, which can be even more exciting during those extra low tides.

2. Seattle Art Museums (SAM) Olympic Sculpture Park +
  Myrtle Edwards Park and Elliot Bay Park


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A wonderful place to be if the sun is out, the SAM Olympic Sculpture Park offers large and interesting works of art surrounded by native landscaping and sweeping views of Elliot Bay. Also great at sunset, dozens of red metal chairs are lined up facing the bay for you to enjoy. They even have a trendy little snack cafe in case you need a bite to eat while perusing.
The trail will lead you down to the waterfront where you can head north into Myrtle Edwards Park and even continue along the bay-front trail to Elliot Bay Park. There is a straight and fast bike trail along with a wandering walking and running path that are nice and separated so you don’t have to worry about getting run down by a bike or rollerblader. They are both wide and paved with large grassy areas between them allowing you to enjoy a little picnic or ball toss during your walk. There is even an exercise station just before the rose garden with pull up bars, a sit up bar and a parallel bar for those who want that little extra.

3. Green Lake Park


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A 2.8 mile inner loop and 3.2 mile outer loop make up this summer evening hotspot. This is a great walk for those who don’t mind lots of people. Summer evenings tend to be chalked full of runners, joggers, and walkers with no shortage of dogs and baby strollers. Surrounded by grassy areas, playgrounds, ball fields and recreation areas, its no wonder. You will find that this is definitely one of Seattle’s most active parks, and just needs to be experienced. Outside the park to the northeast, you will find a great small downtown area with a few restaurants (with patios), coffee shops, and bike and running stores. The inner trail is paved and has a crushed gravel section while the outer trail is less maintained and varies from crushed gravel to dirt.


4. Seattle Graham Arboretum


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It can be easy to loose yourself in the gardens at the Graham Arboretum, especially since the trails aren’t especially well marked. What you will be rewarded with are amazing blooms, elegant landscape pairings and a calm atmosphere. Be sure to pick up a map at the visitors center so you can navigate to the areas you are interested in exploring. Not a good idea after a rain as most of the park is grass and meandering dirt paths.

5. Burke Gilman Trail


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I just couldn’t leave this one out of the list since it is by far the largest. The Burke Gilman Trail is defined as ‘90 miles (140 km) of signed bike routes in Seattle, 175 miles (282 km) of the King County Trails System, planned to become 300 miles (480 km).‘ While it would be better classified as a bike trail, there are some great walking sections as well. I particularly enjoy the Golden Gardens, Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks)‎, University of Washington and Lake Washington sections.
More information and trail maps are available from Seattle Parks and Recreation.

I hope you enjoy these walks as much as I do, and there is no better time than now! Spring is here and they can really be enjoyed all year round. Leave a comment on your favorite walks so others can enjoy them too. I plan on adding walks from other cities that I have enjoyed as well, so check back often!