The Forest ParkSeward Park
5895 Lake Washington Blvd S, Seattle
This pork chop of a peninsula poking into Lake Washington harbors 120 acres of old-growth forest, the largest stand remaining in the city. That alone forms a powerful attraction, but there’s more: an Audubon-sponsored nature education center, playground, picnic areas, swim raft, protected boat anchorage, and almost six miles of hiking trails. (Tip: The trails aren’t all signed, so print a trail map from the Seward Park website before you go.)
There’s plenty of competition for the best hiking destination within the Seattle city limits, but Seward Park arguably claims the prize. The hilly interior trails weave among 250-year-old red cedar and Douglas fir and offer occasional sliver views of the lake far below, a miniature of a hike on that other prominent peninsula, the Olympic. The easy perimeter walk provides sweeping perspectives of the lake, the downtown Seattle skyline, and traffic beetling across the distant I-90 bridge. It’s a beautiful contradiction—a park that’s intimately connected to the modern city, and also a near-pristine recollection of what was here before.