Friday, February 6, 2015

Discovery Park in Seattle

Discovery Park - Seattle, WA
Although we love our hikes in the nearby mountains and forests, sometimes we like to take one of the many dog-friendly hikes available right within the city of Seattle.  Although dogs are supposed to be on leash in city parks (except in designated off-leash areas) it doesn't mean you can't get a pretty good work-out on a fairly long on-leash hike in Discovery Park.  Discovery Park, the site of the former Fort Lawton, was transferred to the city of Seattle from the US government in the 1970s and at 534 acres, is Seattle's largest park. The mission of the park was to provide an oasis of open space with, as much as possible, a natural environment.   Hank is telling me to hurry up and take the picture so we can be on our way.

Where is Discovery Park?

Discovery Park is located in the Magnolia neighborhood of  Seattle to the northwest of the city center.

The Discovery Park Loop Trail
The park has almost 12 miles of intersecting trails, but on this rainy winter day, we decided to explore just the 2.8 mile long Discovery Park Loop Trail Hike, which as been recognized as a National Urban Recreation Trail.  As always, Tim and Hank were anxious to get going. So many smells, so little time!

Discovery Park Loop Trail Trash Can and Dog Clean-up Bags
The park is used by plenty of people walking dogs, so there are some doggie clean-up bag dispensers and trash cans at a few places along the trail.

Discovery Park Meadow
After winding through the forest for about a quarter mile, the view opens up as we hiked through the large meadow.

Border Collies at Discovery Park
As the trail circles the meadow it passes near the bluff overlooking Puget Sound, so we paused to have a drink and enjoy the view. 
Washington State Ferry
There  is a pretty amazing 180 degree view of Puget Sound.  There are numerous cautionary signs about getting too close to the edge since it is unstable and sandy with about a 100 foot drop to the beach below.

Other than a drinking fountain at the visitor center there is no water available on this hike for either humans or dogs, so both Hank and Tim were thirsty and happy to take a drink from the Gulpy dog water dispenser.

Puget Sound and Alki Point
Around a bend in the trail were more views of Puget Sound, some marine traffic and Alki Point in the distance, where we took another urban hike earlier this year.

Ferns along the Discovery Park Loop Trail
After skirting the edge of the bluff, the trail returns to the forest along a fern-lined path.

Big Leaf Maple
We passed through a grove of large, moss-covered big leaf maple trees.

Old Fort Lawton Military Cemetery

As we make our way back to the visitor center parking lot where we began,we passed this military cemetery, a reminder that this was formerly army base.

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