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Fall Viewing in Western Washington


If there is any time to slide on a jacket and cap to head outside, let it be right now, when the Pacific Northwest skyline is awash in gold, red and plum-tinged foliage! Fall will soon be “fell” as the approaching north winds nudge leaves off the day by day. Favorite local viewing spots for fall wonder are numerous, and below are just a few large and few lesser known public parks from which to enjoy a scenic autumn stroll. 

Woodland Park at Greenlake, 1000 North 50th Street, Seattle

The large 90-acre stretch of park on the east side of Highway 99 anchoring Greenlake has picnic tables and a walking and (bicycle) trail all around Greenlake that is perfect for getting in a workout. The flat terrain and easy parking make it user-friendly, and the lush tree-lined views across the lake belie the high-density neighborhood all around! 

Discovery Park, 3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle

Puget Sound views, more than 11 miles of walking trails and 534 acres of park tucked into the Magnolia neighborhood make this the largest city park. For territorial and views to the islands as well as maples and firs dotting the park, there’s plenty to appreciate.

Yesler Swamp (Montlake Fill), 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle

Found east of the Center for Urban Horticulture, a walking loop through the swamp takes you on a boardwalk to the edge of Lake Washington at the pier area of the former Yesler Sawmill. It was restored by University of Washington faculty and students, who cleared invasive plants, upgraded the trail and planted natives. Deciduous trees and wetland grasses offer a fun mix of fauna.

Lincoln Park, 8011 Fauntleroy Way SW, West Seattle

The blushing maples and fir trees line the many trails and walking paths along this 135-acre respite that borders Fauntleroy Way and reaches the edge of Puget Sound’s East Passage. The park’s old-growth canopy attracts migratory birds and waterfowl, and nesting sites for bald eagles, owls and many other birds. Bring binoculars!

Lowman Beach Park, 7017 Beach Dr SW, West Seattle 

Blink and you might miss it! The same Puget Sound views offered by Lincoln Park can be found in this little West Seattle gem, only much cozier. If privacy, quietness and meditation fit the bill, consider this little pocket-size park featuring a tennis court, swings for the kids and 500 feet of driftwood-packed shoreline, perfect for catching flamboyant fall sunsets over Puget Sound.


Frink Park, 398 Lake Washington Blvd S, Seattle

Ever heard of taking the trails less traveled? Right in the middle of Leschi is a paradise filled with a 1.3-mile loop trail that borders Lake Washington and offers waterfront glimpses and 17 acres of park open year-round for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature visits. This escape abounds with many native shrubs and trees. Leashed dogs are welcome!

Bradner Gardens Park, 1730 Bradner Pl S, Seattle

This relatively new, 1.6-acre park in the Mt. Baker neighborhood of southeast Seattle proves that small is beautiful (and versatile)! More for gazing than walking, this collaborative community space offers seven ornamental theme gardens, a p-patch, children’s garden, and food demonstration gardens. The native plant habitat offers showy autumn foliage and there are more than 50 varieties of ornamental trees to admire. 

Gene Coulon Park, 1201 Lake Washington Blvd N, Renton 

Here, 57 lush acres hug the southeastern shore of Lake Washington. Each fall the tree canopy is ablaze with orange and red the stretch gracefully over the two miles of trails. Giant sequoia, bald cypress, larch, and live oak trees pack this spot. There’s a little play area for the wee ones, picnic shelters, and Ivar’s and Kidd Valley are also anchored here if you work up an appetite! Enjoy views of Eastside waterfront neighborhoods, colorful fall sunsets, and bits of the Olympic Mountains in the distance.

Point Defiance Park, 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma

Pierce County’s gorgeous park crowns the north tip of Tacoma. This 760-acre (3.1 km2) park includes Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Rose Garden, Rhododendron Garden, beaches, trails, a boardwalk, a boathouse, an off-leash dog park, and a stand of old-growth forest. The park gently slopes downhill toward Dalco Passage bring water views galore.