Long a beloved green space in the middle of the city, Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum is a botanical jewel, and, with the opening of the new Arboretum Loop Trail in 2018, this jewel shines even brighter. The new 1.2-mile stretch of trail runs along the east side of Lake Washington Boulevard and connects to Arboretum Drive to form a 2.5-mile loop that’s perfect for walking or bicycling.
The Arboretum is a delight in all seasons, but spring brings explosions of color in the form of blooming azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias and other flowering trees. A spring day in the Arboretum should include not only the new Loop Trail but also Azalea Way, the Seattle Japanese Garden and the Waterfront Trail to Foster and Marsh Islands (ah, yes, ducklings), if time allows.
Stop by the Graham Visitor Center if you need a map, have questions or wish to browse the gift shop. Weekends bring scheduled “free weekend walks,” guided tours highlighting specific aspects of the Arboretum’s botanical collection.
At the south end of the Arboretum, along E. Madison St. in the Madison Valley neighborhood, you’ll find grocers and restaurants for takeout, so you can pack a picnic into the Arboretum. The nearest bicycle rental to the Arboretum is Montlake Bicycle Shop (montlakebike.com) in the Montlake neighborhood near the north end of the Arboretum.
Find more information and an Arboretum map at botanicgardens.uw.edu/washington-park-arboretum.