So...how are your nerves this week? It's hard not to think of Hillary Clinton's response to the 2016 election—she and Bill gathered their dogs for a walk in the woods the day after she lost. Before this rollercoaster of a vote has even been fully counted, it's already clear that the calming stroll is the only part of this election era that should become tradition. Fortunately, Seattle boasts a plethora of November-ready city trails.
Washington Park Arboretum
The 230 acres of university property on the shores of Lake Washington are so chock full of plant life—some native, some rare—there's plenty to fill a walker's attention span. The Japanese Garden on the south end requires an entrance fee, but the rest of the three-and-a-half mile loop is fully free and dog friendly.
South Seattle's gem of a botanic wonderland is dotted with ponds and manicured hedges, celebrating Japanese horticulture but never losing a taste of damp Washington wildness. The cherry-red footbridge and waterfalls are made for meditative strolling.
The bracing whip of sea air that whips up the bluffs of the former Fort Lawton demands attention to the here and now. With miles of trail—like a nearly three-mile loop trail that circles most of the park—and big open fields, options abound. Don't forget a trip down to the beach.
The forest on this Lake Washington peninsula encircles walkers like a hug. The interior dirt trails are almost completely sheltered by trees, while the outer paved ring, closed to cars, gets shoreline views. Break out the roller skates for the latter.
With more than 50 acres and a collection of old-growth trees, West Seattle's pocket of forest is a surprise in such a residential area. A cluster of short trail pieces allows for birdwatching and a chance to view Northwest plant life in its natural element.