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!


Seven things to do outside this winter

Tundra Swans. © 2017 Curt Given/Given Photography

A Sweet Little Guide to Nature Me For You


A Simple Way to FEEL MORE JOY in your life

© Cary Given/Given Photography 2016



Journal Archive

Join us for our next Seattle city spring walk in Volunteer Park and Harvard-Belmont historic neighborhood 

Lemon tree inside Volunteer Park Conservatory, Seattle Washington

To sign up and get all the details about our next urban nature walk on Saturday April 16, 2016, click the link below. 

Volunteer Park and Harvard-Belmont historic neighborhood walk. 


11 ways to embrace spring

Cherry and Oregon Crab Apple trees. © 2016 Curt Given/ Given PhotographySpring is so invigorating. The season is naturally filled with signs of birth, renewal, and newness. You can't help but feel inspired to try something new. Change things up. Get outside. Start that new outdoor project. Here are eleven spring experiences to get your creativity flowing.

1. Take an early morning walk often. It's when wildlife is the most active. Birds are calling for their would-be mates and easy to spot in their brightly colored mating feathers. Tiny mammals are eating the fresh greens along side roads and pathways. And the crisp air feels so good. Walk at least weekly and notice the changes.

2. Look for old bird nests. Trees are just beginning to leaf out, so you have plenty of time to look for old birds nests. This will give you a jump on where birds will be nesting this year. They are so fun to watch when nesting. You can see them tirelessly rebuild their nest with umpteen trips, their beaks filled with grasses and leaves. Soon you will catch glimpses of babies and hear their peeps. In our area near the Ballard Locks there is an amazing Great Blue Heron rookery. You can see, hear and smell the adults as they refurbish their nests and feed their babies throughout the spring. Always an awe-inspiring site that will capture your interest for a long time.

3. Find a wetland. These nutrient rich areas are home to many critters. You can see herons, muskrats, marsh wrens, minks, weasels, ducks, geese and blackbirds to name a few. We have a favorite day-trip from the Seattle area just past the Canadian Border. It's the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. A springtime visit to this sanctuary is well worth the trip. Here is a link to an article I wrote for Parent Map that describes all the details and how to get there. Put it on your list of outings. You will love it. Article link: Winging it! A great family getawy that's for the birds

4. Explore a riverfront trail. Last week while I walked along a riverfront trail, I saw Canada geese, a pileated woodpecker, squirrels, hummingbirds and a snake...all within about an hour. River otters are common in rivers, too and I've seen them many times. I'm always amused to watch as they play, swim and tumble back and forth between the river bank and water. You can look for their burrows and holes in the river bank. The teaming life along a river can be quite captivating in a short amount of time. 

5. Notice trees, shrubs and flowers. Use a field guide to identify plants. Or take a picture and look up online. Changes are daily now and it's fun to track plant growth. Are they leafing out or still dormant. What shape and color are the leaves? Do they still have their winter fruit? Are flowers starting to bud or even bloom? Where are green shoots coming up? Try to name the flowers and trees.

6. Note how spring makes you feel. Do you feel more energy than usual? Take advantage of the inspiring energy to start something new or clear out some old stuff. This can be either internal or external. For example, start a new meditation or walking routine. Or, clear the clutter from an area of your house. The rhythm and energy of the spring season make new starts easier.

7. Listen and watch for birds. Carry a small field guide with you to identify the birds you see and hear. Or use Ibird Pro, which is a great app to help you ID them while in the field. Notice the birds that are showing off their spring plumage.

8. Track the weather. Is it still cold enough for a hat? Is the rain or frost keeping you inside? If you do any traveling note the differences in temperatures. I was on the eastern side of the state last week and definitely needed hat and gloves for an early morning walk. Are the days fluctuating between warm and cold or gradually getting warmer? Is frost still evident in the early morning? It's fun to notice the changes and helps you immerse yourself into the rhythm of the season. 

9. Embrace the season. Find a natural place you like and note all of the characteristics that are related to spring. Then plan to visit it often during the season and track the changes. Then take it a step further and visit the same place each season to note the difference. You will learn how every season has its own kind of beauty. 

10. Sit in the sun. Its energy is important for our health in so many ways. Bask in its warmth and remember the sun's vital importance to all living things.

11. See nature as your playground. Your playground can be anything from a local park to a wilderness area to your own backyard. Be curious. Explore. Look closely at everything. Immerse yourself in the mystery and beauty of mother nature as people have done for thousands of years. You will find nature illuminating in so many ways.   

What are some of your favorite ways to embrace spring? Are you working in your garden? Planting new shrubs? Or, maybe taking a spring vacation to a sunny spot? We want to know so share with us! And if you feel so inclined, please click the button below to share with others. 

Happy spring!!


Below are links to more spring ideas and activities!

Earth love

Add a little spring to your day

Somethings in the air

Get inspired at Bellevue Botanical Gardens


Seattle City Walk - Madison Park on March 6, 2016 

Come walk with us! We are leading free urban nature walks around Seattle. We've got a new walk planned for Madison Park on March 6, 2016. 


This urban nature walk takes in all of the upscale beauty and charm of the Madison Park neighborhood. You'll get great views of Lake Washington, a look at the eclectic mix of shops and restaurants that border Madison avenue and a nice walk through this peaceful neighborhood of beautiful homes with amazing landscapes.

Our walking trail parallels Lake Washington, heading south from Madison Park to Madrona Park. It's about 4 miles round trip. Depending on our pace and stops along the way, it will take approximately 2.5 hours. The terrain is mostly asphalt, so wear comfy walking shoes. 

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One darn good reason to get up early!

Yellowstone River, © Curt Given/ Given Photography 2016Sometimes it's good to get up early. But given the choice for most of us, the soft sheets, warm cozy blankets and lull of sleep make it way more appealing to stay under the covers. And if it's still dark outside when your alarm goes off...it's even more challenging to get out of bed.

Here's one good reason to get up early...

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Seattle City Walk - Queen Anne Hill and Kerry Park on January 30, 2016

Come walk with us. We are leading free urban nature walks around Seattle. Our next Queen Anne Hill city walk is on January 30, 2016 and includes the iconic Kerry Park. 


We've designed an urban walk that explores the distinct Queen Anne Hill neighborhood with its grand homes, charming parks and scenic views of Seattle, Lake Union and Puget Sound. 

A unique mix of remarkable homes, old stairways, local parks and urban cafes make up this prominent neighborhood.


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WINTER. Profoundly beautiful...going deep for a new year

Frost and Forest. © Curt Given/Given Photography 2015

Winter in Mount Baker National Forest. © Cary Given/Given Photography 2015

Hawk Owl. © Cary Given/Given Photography 2015

Ice on Cle Elum Lake, Washington. © Curt Given/Given Photography 2015

Queen Elizabeth Range. © Cary Given/Given Photography 2015


5 gifts for the bird lover in your life

Bushtit, Pinnacles National Monument. © 2015 Curt Given/Given PhotographyI so love birds! I'm not a devoted birder, but always love watching them. Here are some ideas for your bird lover. Each of the five gifts listed below are unique and special enough that your bird person will zealously thank-you and probably give you a big hug. And, the Robert Bateman Book and birdseed wreath are wonderful gifts for anyone! 

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Next City Walk with Nature Me - Special Holiday Walk on December 20

WALK THIS WAY to the BALLARD FARMER'S MARKET. A special holiday walk! 

Come walk with us. We are leading free, fun and interesting walks around the greater Seattle area. See details below for our upcoming December 20 walk.


We've designed this urban walk just for the holidays! This special walk will explore part of the Ballard Neighborhood, but mostly introduce you to the fantastic Ballard Farmer's Market. You'll have ample time to shop and explore all of the bounty this market has to give. 


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Five outside activities that will help your holidays shine

Red Alder, Olympic National Park. © 2015 Curt Given/ Given PhotographyI love this time of year. Right about now I start getting that good feeling of what's to come.

And, I've intentionally scaled back so much throughout the years that now the season feels way more festive than frenzied.

Not only have I trimmed back, but I've let go of all my expectations (well most). That in itself is a great gift!

This year we are opting for a different kind of Thanksgiving. Circumstances (good ones) just worked out that Curt (my life partner) and I have the day to ourselves.

So, I'm packing a lovely simple picnic with a great bottle of Pinot Noir (exellent with turkey and cranberry sandwiches) and we are heading to the foothills of the Cascade mountains for a nice hike along a river.

It seems like the perfect place for us to give thanks for all that we have in our lives while surrounded by natural mountain beauty.

Here are four more ways to experience the beauty of the holiday season outside...

    Click to read more ...


PICTURE IT WELL: the mind-body connection

Lost Creek, Oregon. © 2015 Curt Given/ Given PhotographyAccording to author Esther M. Sternberg, MD, growing research shows a mind-body connection between nature scenes (either a real or photograph) and how they make us feel emotionally. Even though many of us intuitively seek out beautiful surroundings because they make us feel better, Sternberg takes it further by providing the neuroscience behind the healing power of a beautiful sunset, a walk through an old-growth forest or the sound and sight of early morning birds. Her beautifully written, easy to read book, Healing Spaces, is a fascinating study on the science behind nature and emotional well-being.

PICTURE IT WELL photos from givenphoto.com symbolize some aspect of well-being. The brief text is meant to inspire you and demonstrate the uplifting power of nature.  


Creating space 

Find your path to joy

Be the one who has moxie

A peaceful way

Letting go

See the abundance in your life

Dig into your roots

Play it up in the new year

Do one thing

Reflect for growth




Next City Walk with Nature Me - November 21

WALK THIS WAY - Green Lake 

Come walk with us! We are leading free, fun and interesting urban nature walks around the greater Seattle area. See details below for our upcoming November 21 walk.


This fun and high energy walk will take us around Green Lake, which is so loved by Seattleites.

The path around the perimeter of Green Lake is just under 3 miles and it winds through a variety of terrain. You'll see everything from sports fields, to swimming ducks and geese to a wonderful variety of preserved natural plants and trees. Not to mention joggers, walkers, bikers, skaters and strollers. 

Also, we will add part of the bustling Green Lake neighborhood to our walk, making it approximately 3.5 to 4 miles. Depending on our pace it will take about 2 hours. The terrain is mostly asphalt, so wear comfy shoes. (Tennis shoes work great.)

Our intent for this walk is really more about discovery and connection with nature in an urban setting than fitness. The exercise is just a bonus! And, just so you know, it's not a formal tour, we explore right along with you. 

Date and Time: Saturday, November 21 at 10 am

Where: Green Lake, Seattle Washington. (Meet-up location and parking details to come with confirmation email)

Optional: As always, after the walk we'll gather at a nearby coffee house for refreshment and a little conversation. 

What we experience when we walk:

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Next City walk with Nature Me - October 31

WALK THIS WAY. Seattle's Beautiful Washington Park Arboretum Come walk with us! We are leading free, fun and interesting urban nature walks around the greater Seattle area. See details below for our upcoming October 31 walk. Description: This gorgeous walk starts and ends at the south end of Washington Park Arboretum near the Japanese gardens. (Check our option below about the Japanese garden add-on.) The arboretum is a 230-acre outdoor gallery of sorts. The north end of the park spills into Lake Washington with Marsh and Foster Islands making up that part of the park habitat. From there, it stretches south through a beautiful land of plant collections.

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Next city walk with Nature Me - September 19

Come walk with us. We are leading free, fun and interesting walks around the greater Seattle area. See details below for our upcoming September 19 walk. Description: This gorgeous walk starts and ends in the Belltown neighborhood. We'll stroll through Olympic Sculpture park with its massive outdoor sculptures and then on to the adjacent Myrtle Edwards park with its paved path along Elliot Bay. You'll see panoramic views of the harbor, Olympic mountains and downtown Seattle . The walk is approximately 3.5 miles, so depending on our pace it will take about 2 hours. The terrain is a mix of asphalt, dirt trails, and a little up and down, so wear comfy shoes. (Tennis shoes work great.) Our intent for this walk is really more about discovery and connection with nature in an urban setting than fitness. The exercise is just a bonus! And, just so you know, it's not a formal tour, we explore right along with you.

Click to read more ...


7 ways to get the most out of your walk

Walking is one of the simplist ways to get some exercise and clear your mental clutter. Here are some simple things you can do to get more out of your walk. 
  1. Set a simple intention before you start your walk such as...
    • I will be aware of my surroundings
    • I will notice all of the flowers, animals, birds, trees or gorgeous views (choose one or two)
    • I will be present and let my thoughts float on by
    • I will embrace the season
  2. Feel your body. Your feet. Your strong legs. Set your posture. Shoulders back and arms loose. Thanks your body for giving you the physical stamina to do this.
  3. Start out positive...approach your walk with a sense of adventure, curiosity and discovery.
  4. Find a pace that feels right for you. If you are with others, set your pace together.
  5. If something is going on that you need to process mentally, give yourself 5 minutes, then let it go. you'll be amazed at the insight or clarity that will come later.
  6. Along the way look for things you've never noticed before and find interesting.
  7. Expect nothing but the best on your walk.

Are you looking for someone to walk with or a fun, interesting walking route? Then come join us for our monthly walks! We post the details in the sidebar to the right of this post or you can get them delivered to your inbox by signing up in the box to the left of this post.

Interested in our Walk This Way urban nature walks. Read here to find out why we are creating these city walks.


Still time to join us for our next urban nature walk in Fremont!

It's not too late to join us for our next FREE Urban Nature walk in Fremont! It's set for August 28 at 10 am. We have a great walk designed that leaves from Gas Works park, winds through the "Center of the Universe," aka, the quirky Fremont neighborhood, follows part of the Burke-Gilman trail along the ship canal and Lake Union and ends with a nice stroll through Gas Works park that has panoramic views of Seattle and Lake Union. As an option after, we can head to the Essential Bakery cafe for coffee and/or refreshment. It’s about three blocks from the parking lot.

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