Green Lake Trail

Seattle, Washington
Green Lake Trail
Length : 2.8 miles, loop
Elevation Gain : 50 ft.
The Green Lake trail is a very popular paved trail within the Green Lake Park which loops around its namesake lake. It provides scenic views of the lake and various water fowl like ducks and heron that frequent the lake, passes through grooves of trees and abundant grassy areas and even provides far off views of the skyscrapers of downtown Seattle.

As mentioned above, this trail is popular and has people on it at all times and in all weather, so don’t expect a wilderness experience. Rather, this is an opportunity to enjoy views of the lake while people and animal watching. Either direction is fine for walking, and your starting point will likely depend on where you are able to park.

Directions

Heading north on I-5 from downtown Seattle, Take exit 170 for Ravenna Blvd toward NE 65th St. Continue on NE Ravenna Blvd for a half mile, and take a left onto Green Lake Drive.

Parking

Green Lake Park has a couple of parking lots, however it can be hard to find a parking spot given the popularity of the park. On the eastern side of the Park, you can find street parking in the neighborhood. The western side of the park abuts Woodland Park and Highway 99, however you can park in the Phinney Ridge and use the pedestrian overpasses hidden to the side of the zoo.
 

October 4, 2021 Trip Report

 
Type : hike
Length : 2.8 miles, loop
Elevation Gain : 50 ft.
High Point : 160 ft.
It was a beautiful autumn day, and I was able to sneak away from work for a long lunch, and decided to head to Green Lake. I typically run around Green Lake Trail loop, but decided today I would slow down, walk it, and take in sights. I was happy to find a number of things I would have definitely missed had I been running the loop. It’s amazing how often you can pass by something and never notice it...
I started out at the Green Lake Aqua Theater, and walked out onto one of the docks to take in the view of the Lake. There were a number of people fishing on the nearby docks, and on my walk, I noticed how many docks are at Green Lake, as well as how many people take advantage of the docks to fish. Heading back towards the trail, I noticed a Great Blue Heron perched atop the bathroom. I saw another Heron later sitting on the swimming platform at East Green Lake Beach.
Great Blue Heron at Green Lake
Great Blue Heron at Green Lake
View of Green Lake
View of Green Lake
While walking past the Green Lake Aqua Theater towards the actual trail, I noticed some crazy tree roots cascading into the lake that looked like an alien life form. There were a decent amount of people on the trail, but not too many, considering it was a beautiful day out in October.
Crazy tree roots
Crazy tree roots
Beatiful day to be on the Green Lake Trail
Beatiful day to be on the Green Lake Trail
Ducks cruising on Green Lake
Ducks cruising on Green Lake
Upon reaching the East Green Lake Beach, I saw a large group of Canada Geese taking a break from their journey South for the winter - not a bad place to grab some water and rest before flying again. Fortunately there wasn’t much goose shit along the path, but that wasn’t the case at West Green Lake Beach, where I felt like I was in a hopscotch game while trying to keep my shoes clean (this was at the waterfront, not along the Green Lake trail).
Canada Geese flock on Green Lake
Canada Geese flock on Green Lake
Trees along Green Lake Trail
Trees along Green Lake Trail
West Green Lake Beach with skyscrapers in the background
West Green Lake Beach with skyscrapers in the background
At West Green Lake Beach I veered off the trail to walk along the waterfront, and headed out onto another dock for more photos. I was able to see the Seattle downtown skyline peaking above the trees. Then it was back onto the trail and a brisk walk to complete the loop. The trees along the final stretch had some nice colors.
Fall foliage along Green Lake Trail
Fall foliage along Green Lake Trail
My final stats for the walk were 3.01 miles and 62ft of elevation gain. A great walk in the park as they like to say. Fortunately for me, I live close to Green Lake and this won't be my last time doing the Green Lake Trail!