Sometimes you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city – but not too far. Whether you're visiting town on a tight schedule or a local looking for an after-work escape, Discovery Park is the perfect solution. This 534-acre city park overlooks Puget Sound with views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Its features include everything from meadows and forest to beaches and sea cliffs. Best of all, Discovery Park is located near the heart of Seattle - within 5 miles of the Space Needle.
2019 Update: This trail is featured in our new guidebook, Urban Hikes Washington, available July 2020. Check it out to learn more!
Discovery Park's grounds were formerly used as a military base. Fort Lawton, named in 1900 after Civil War vet Major General Henry Ware Lawton, was operational until the late 1960's when the US Army made surplus of much of the base. 534 acres were handed over to the City of Seattle, and the park opened a few years later. Today, it’s the largest city park in Seattle. Many of the original military base buildings still stand in the Fort Lawton Historic Area.
Check out the Discovery Park Loop Trail. It is well signed and there are plenty of side trails to explore. This trail is great for users of all ages, and is easily hikeable any time of the year. As you make your way around, be sure to detour along the South Beach Trail to visit Discovery Park's historic lighthouse.
Instead of doing the full Loop, we kept to the beach, and made our own loop. The North beach is scenic and we loved catching some February sunshine. It is quite a trek back up from the beach though, as you tackle a few staircases and wander through marsh lands on boardwalks. It's hard to believe at times that you're only minutes away from the bustling downtown. It's also a short distance from Fremont and Ballard Breweries. We decided to make our Valentine's Day visit into a true Seattle Day with a trip to Pike Place Market for our beers at the bottom.
For more photos and stats from our hike, check out the Ramblr tracks below!
Pike Brewing has perhaps one of the greatest locations as far as Seattle breweries go. Situated in the heart of Pike Place Market, the taphouse is a spectacle to behold. From the mezzanine above, you can peer down on the collection of separate bars and tables. Pike Brewing has called its current location home since 1996, and the pub is now a veritable beer museum. Tap handles, historical photos, and every imaginable beer ephemera line the walls, bars, and hang from the ceiling. In fact, there is even a Museum Bar, where you can enjoy a pint in wonder of beer history. It's loud--like a Craft Beer T.G.I. Friday's--and usually packed with a diverse group of not only locals but tourists aplenty.
In the face of the growing number of Seattle Breweries, Pike is decent, with a standard taphouse brewing up the standard styles. Pike's Naughty Nellie and Kilt Lifter are widely recognized, on tap at Washington bars and on the shelves of most stores. Mostly, you come to Pike for the atmosphere. After elbowing our way through the throngs of Valentine couples with their arms full of farmer's market bouquets of early bloom tulips--we really needed a pint. By complete happy accident, we landed a couple of stools up at the bar and debated whether it was a wise idea to go with the cask tripel so early in the afternoon. Grab that flying fish, give Rachel the Pig a pat, have a pirogi, and head downstairs to Pike for a pint to wash it all down.
View from the bluff
West Point Lighthouse
A paddle boarder on the sound
Beachcombing at West Point Lighthouse
Seagulls over the bay