Seward Park to the Washington Park Arboretum
A Seattle Scenic Drive along Lake Washington to the Arboretum
|Mileage||8 miles (12 km)|
|DurationThe duration is an estimate of a one-way drive and does not include any stops or side-trips.||20 minutes|
|SeasonsThe seasons listed are the best seasons for this scenic drive. If Winter is not mentioned, the road may be closed during the winter.||All Seasons|
|Roadways||Lake Washington Blvd S, and Lakeside Ave S|
|ServicesThe cities or towns listed have either Food or Services such as gas, pharmacies, etc.||Seattle, WA▼|
3.7 average from 33 votes
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This Seattle scenic drive starts in Seward Park, follows Lake Washington and ends in the picturesque Washington Park Arboretum. Lake Washington is the second largest natural lake in Washington, second to Lake Chelan. Not only does this route serve as a scenic drive, it also makes for a great scenic bicycle path, too. Keep this in mind when in the curves.
To reach Seward Park from downtown Seattle, head south down 2nd Avenue and turn right onto Jackson. Follow Jackson for almost a mile and then turn right onto Rainier Avenue. Continue on Rainer Avenue for about 4 miles where you will see South Orcas Street, where you will turn left. Continue on Orcas to the very end and Seward Park will be on your right.
Seward Park (H1) is a must stop. 300-acres of forest, some of it old-growth, is ringed by a 3-mile paved bike and walking path. There are always great views of Lake Washington, but the highlight from the south side of the park on a clear day is a majestic view of Mount Rainier. In summer, the north side of the park features a beach area with lifeguards. There are many hiking trails through the forest providing an opportunity to see eagles’ nests.
Once you are in the car and ready to go, head north on Lake Washington Boulevard with Lake Washington on the east side. There are many opportunities to stop along the Lake for more views.
Continuing on Lake Washington Boulevard, you will pass a few marinas. Pleasure boats are everywhere on Seattle’s sunny days. A stroll along the path that follows the lake allows you to watch the boats, as well as the ducks and other birds that call the lake home.
Lake Washington Boulevard veers through Colman Park (H4). Here you will find beach access and picnic tables. While the curves the boulevard takes through the park are fun, follow Lakeside Ave S. The two roads will rejoin shortly. For the next little stretch, homes along the lake obstruct your view. In moments, you will pass under the I-90, as known as the Mountains to Sound Greenway.
After passing the next marina, Lake Washington follows the road again and in about a half of a mile, you will arrive at Madrona Park (H6). Madrona Park is set on a forested hillside which leads to a beach on the side of Lake Washington. During the summer, there is a lifeguard on duty making this a great stop for kids. Shortly up the road is Denny Blaine Park (W1) which also has beach access, but does not have a lifeguard.
After Denny Blaine Park, Lake Washington Boulevard forks into multiple paths. Be sure to stick on Lake Washington Boulevard through Lakeview Park (H7).
In about a half of a mile, the road will intersect with Madison E. To enjoy another great beach on Lake Washington, turn right and head to Madison Park (W2). Featuring a sandy, lifeguarded beach, swimming raft with low and high diving boards, this is a very popular spot on a hot day. If you have kids in tow, be sure to stop at the playground across the street. It’s complex and colorful equipment make it a great place for kids of all ages. The casual, urban Madison Park Village offers shopping, fine dining and coffee shops.
The drive continues across Madison into the Washington Park Arboretum. The 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum is truly a magical place with plenty of areas to explore. With over 40,000 trees, shrubs and vines you’ll be sure to experience something new. Walk through the Joseph Witt Winter Garden south of the visitor center, observe the wetlands and wildlife or sign up for one of the education programs. A must see is the Japanese Garden and Traditional Teahouse to the left after you enter the park. Though the Arboretum is free, note that the Japanese Garden has a small entrance fee.
Our drive continues on Lake Washington Boulevard until just after the Arboretum. From here, you can jump onto I-5 and head over to another great adventure, such as the Mountains to Sound Greenway.