Outdoor Seattle: Hiking, Biking and Kayaking
Burke Gilman Trail:
This trail is ideal for walking, jogging, rollerblading and cycling. It cuts through the UW campus (at 15th and NE Pacific) on its 18.8 mile journey from the Ballard Locks to the city of Bothell. There it intersects with the Sammamish River Trail, if you are looking for an even longer route. It is a paved trail with a soft shoulder, which crosses quite a few busy streets and a few bridges. The Burke-Gilman is a great way to see a different perspective on some of Seattle’s more popular areas like Fremont, Wedgwood and Lake Forest Park.
A great year-round hiking destination as the trails tend to be (mostly) snow-free at any time. There are over 80 miles of trails, so you should be able to find one to suit any hikers abilities. If you are looking for a challenge, take the cable-line trail which will take you straight up the mountain. And I do mean straight up; there are no switch-backs on this particular trail. If you are looking for a less demanding hike but still want to elevate your heart rate, go for West Tiger 3. This I one of my favorites and is often used as a training hike and also by some trail runners. You will need a car as it is located at exit 20 off from I-90.
Seattle’s most popular walking and jogging trail. It is a 3 mile loop trail around Green Lake. If it is sunny, you will see everybody, their brother, and their dog all making their way around this trail. There are also some ball diamonds and basketball courts at the community center. Brave people swim here in the summer. And crew teams practice their rowing, especially in the early mornings. My word of warning: don’t eat the fish – and don’t try to blade or skate here as you will get tangled up in innumerable leashes!
A great place to rent a kayak for a few hours on the water and then grab a margarita and a delicious bite to eat afterwards. I like heading through the Montlake cut over to Lake Washington and then paddling around the Arboretum. Look for turtles and beavers. Don’t forget to ask for the student discount when you are paying for your boat. Too bad there is no student discounts on the margaritas as well. It’s an easy walk from campus, located at the end of Brooklyn. 1303 NE Boat St.