WALK THIS WAY
Free City Walks around Seattle

Come walk with us. We are leading free fun and interesting urban nature walks in the greater Seattle area.

You can get all the details for our walks by subscribing in the box on the left side of this page. Share with your friends. They are free and fun!

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A Sweet Little Guide to Nature Me For You

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A Simple Way to FEEL MORE JOY in your life

© Cary Given/Given Photography 2016

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Journal Archive

From the Puget Sound Urban Nature Series

CARKEEK PARK
A sound view

by Rebecca Bailey

Late summer day at Carkeek Park, Seattle

If you want easy access to the Puget Sound from the busy Seattle metropolis, Carkeek park is perfect. 

Although the entrance is somewhat hidden in a residential area about nine miles from downtown, you can easily navigate to it with a GPS and it's practically due west of the Northgate area. 

It has a nicely pebbled beach that spans the Sound for nearly half a mile, making it good place for a leisurely stroll, beach combing or boat watching.  

The heart of the park is a panoramic view of the Puget Sound and Olympic mountains. I had to squint hard to see the mountains through the haze on the day that I visited, but the park literature confirmed their magnificence from this spot. 

A lot of parents and grandparents hang out here. It has enough variety of fun activities for even the most active and curious child. 

The Salmon Slide Playground area is very cool. It's named after a giant salmon-shaped slide that swooshes screaming kids down through its innards. 

Kids can look for interesting friends like frogs and birds. Or, challenge them to find seven different kinds of leaves on the ground to take home and try to identify with a field guide or Google search.

Lots of trails wind throughout the 220 acres of forest. As you explore, you can easily forget that you are mere minutes away from a busy city. Printed trail guides are available at a kiosk near the park entrance.   

Bridge crossing train tracksA steel footbridge leads to the beach. It crosses the train tracks and visitors love to stand over the trains as they pass under. I must admit, it gave me a little thrill, too. 

Once on the beach, low tide reveals tide pools and small lagoons. You can search for marine critters such as sea stars and hermit crabs. Lagoons, which are near the back shore, make great wading pools. And you will find plenty of driftwood for sitting and climbing. 

It seems to be a park for everyone. I met an elder gent who was watering red current plants that he planted on his own some time back. After chatting for awhile, I learned that he has planted these trees in many parks around the region. Wow! Inspiring I thought. He also visits this park to get some good exercise. An avid hiker in his day, he now follows about a two-mile loop trail through the park, which has some elevation gain, to keep fit. 

People were toting books for a quiet read on benches that were above the beach and in the forest along the trail to the north meadow. Dog owners were everywhere.

The walk to the north meadow took about ten minutes with plenty of time to stop and take in the peak-a-boo views of the water along the way. The meadow was...well a meadow. Full of dandelions and uneven grass. But I loved it. This is where I got grounded. I can't remember the last time I really sat in a meadow.

I sat on the grass in full sunshine for a long time reading, reflecting and watching people play with their dogs. It felt so luxurious!

Foot trailIf you are curious, venture to the south meadow. An overgrown wetland area with thick pond scum and duckweed is near the edge of the meadow. It's not very attractive and apparently, the birds agree, because I only spied one lone Chickadee.

I was told that a flood washed the area out awhile back, along with the trail around it. Still it might be worth checking out. It looked like good habitat for turtles and frogs.

You will find much more to explore than what I have covered here. And I think it would be great anytime of the year, especially if you are fond of the Puget Sound, like me. It's worth a visit just for the breathtaking views.

Read more about Carkeek Park

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