Do you feel like enjoying a getaway to the forest, enjoying views of the ocean, and taking a nice walk? If you want to do all of this, but you don’t want to spend a lot of time on the road, Discovery Park is the ideal destination!
Located in the Magnolia neighborhood, Discovery Park is the largest city park in Seattle.
Here, on the banks of Puget Sound you can lose yourself in the forest. However, it’s not just a figure of speech because if you aren’t careful about noting where you parked your car, you may end up walking quite a while before finding it again! The trails in the park meet and cross each other forming circles which can make getting your bearings a little difficult.
If you park in the East parking lot next to the Visitor Center, make sure to take a map of the trails. These maps are also available in boxes at the other parking lots of the park.
There are several trails that lead through the trees to the beach. A meadow sits high above Puget Sound and the view from there of Alki, Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, and the islands is superb.
The land where the park is located once belonged to indigenous tribes. Honoring the history and culture of the Native American tribes in and around Seattle, the park is home to the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. This event and conference center host large events, including pow wows, as well as a preschool and an art gallery. Admission is free.
Discovery Park was the site of the former army base, Fort Lawton, whose construction began in 1900. Many buildings once existed, serving as transit centers and ports of embarcation for soldiers, prisons, etc… uses have been many, depending on the time period and historical events. Although many of the buildings from World War II have been demolished, there are still quite a few old military buildings still standing in the park. There is also a military cemetery on the grounds. Fort Lawton was officially closed on September 14, 2011.
Officer’s Row with its beautiful colonial homes (now owned by individuals) is a unique neighborhood which tries to maintain a private feel.
Depending on which trail you take, you may even walk past a large radar dish which is used to help guide planes to SeaTac airport.
Walk down to the beach and have a rest one of the driftwood tree trunks. Then, continue on towards the charming lighthouse, with its red roof, and enjoy the view of the bay.
Going around the lighthouse, you can rejoin the trail that leads back to your car.