I’ve been frequenting the Emerald City a lot lately and when not downing liters of coffee to deal with the rain, have been exploring numerous running venues. One of my favorites is Discovery Park, located in the northwest corner of the Queen Ann Peninsula.
The park is built around an old military installation, which means lots of old derelict buildings. Some are eyesores, but some are fairly interesting to look at – old estates for the upper officer ranks. The park is also surrounded by older homes, and some of the trails put you out into the neighborhoods around the park, providing another site seeing venue as most of the homes are pretty cool to look at
Most of the park sits on top of a bluff overlooking the Puget Sound making for some fantastic views. The best feature about the park is the variety of trails. You can run through old growth forests, through coastal grasslands and even along the beach. The views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Range are absolutely stunning. The only thing to watch out for is that the park is often crowded during the weekends and full of kids, dogs and families. It seems that most of the family oriented use of the park is focused on the beach and on the paved trails, leaving a lot of the running trails to the runners. The Loop Trail is the main trail through the park; a mix of dirt and concrete that runs along the bluff and into the forested parts of the park. This trail is about 3 miles in length, with various other trails branching off of it. It’s worth looping a couple of times to take in all of the views.
Directions: the park is located in the northwest corner of the Queen Anne Peninsula, almost directly to the south of the Ballard area (on the other side of the canal), so directions will change depending on where you are coming from. Below is a Google Map of the location. The physical address of the park is: 3801 W Government Way, Seattle, WA 98119.
Trail map available here (in PDF format).