Lake Washington Ship Canal Waterside Trail

Seattle, Washington
Lake Washington Ship Canal Waterside Trail
Length : 1 mile, roundtrip
Elevation Gain : 40 ft.
This very short trail, clocking in at a half mile one way, isn't likely something that will top your list of hikes in Seattle. While it is interesting to get a unique perspective of the Montlake Bridge, and it joins two beautiful bodies of freshwater in Seattle, the hike itself is a little underwhelming. Consider it as an add-on if you are doing the Arboretum Waterfront Trail, or if you happen to be visiting West Montlake Park.

Directions

Driving north on I-5, take the exit for 520. Once on 520, take the exit toward Montlake Blvd/Univ Of Washington. Use the left 2 lanes to turn left onto Montlake Blvd E. Turn left onto E Hamlin St and start to look for street parking.

Parking

Use street parking for the west end of the trail. There is a small amount of parking near the east end of the trail, however that is shared with the Arboretum Waterfront Trail and is often full, and you may be required to park on the street (I believe this area requires permits for street parking).
 

October 21, 2021 Trip Report

 
Type : hike
Length : 1 mile, roundtrip
Elevation Gain : 40 ft.
High Point : 30 ft.
After a morning hike along the Arboretum Waterfront Trail went quicker than expected, I realized I was at the start of the ship canal trail and decided I could squeeze in this hike, given how short it is, before my first meeting of the day.
Things got off to a great start, as I was walking down to the viewpoint overlooking Lake Washington, an eagle flew over carrying what looked like a fish, with a couple of crows in hot pursuit. The eagle landed on a large pine tree and went to work on it’s catch.
The start of the hike
The start of the hike
Eagle flying overhead
Eagle flying overhead
View out onto Lake Washington
View out onto Lake Washington
After admiring the eagle, it’s a short walk on a gravel trail up a very small hill before you encounter a set of stairs leading down to the ship canal.
First part of the trail
First part of the trail
Stairs leading down to the ship canal
Stairs leading down to the ship canal
Walking along the ship canal was somewhat interesting, as was going underneath the Montlake Bridge. There isn’t much room on the trail when passing beneath the bridge, but fortunately no one else was coming - I doubt this trail sees a lot of use.
Ship Canal trail
Ship Canal trail
Underneath the Montlake Bridge
Underneath the Montlake Bridge
Looking up at the Montlake Bridge
Looking up at the Montlake Bridge
Montlake cut and Lake Union
Montlake cut and Lake Union
I walked the short distance along the trail to the West Montlake Park, and spent a couple of minutes walking around the park. After that, it was back the way I came for the whole half mile back to the car.
Large tree in West Montlake Park
Large tree in West Montlake Park
Walking back along the Ship Canal Waterside Trail
Walking back along the Ship Canal Waterside Trail
This isn't a hike I would really recommend, but it was cool to walk under the Montlake Bridge and I got to see an eagle.