Magnuson Park Walking Route
Magnuson Park in Seattle’s NE neighborhood has changed significantly in the last few decades. This former Navy air base has received a complete transformation since it was deactivated in the 1970s. Gone is the sentry at the gate and barracks that were slowly crumbing into ruin.
Today there are multiple sports fields, a tennis center, spaces for non-profit foundations, a dog park, and a playground. Seattle’s second largest park is now a thriving public space.
Our family likes to do a big clockwise walking loop, starting at the south parking lot (off 65th street) and stopping at various points of interest along the way. It’s roughly two miles of mostly-flat terrain. The trails are graded gravel and appropriate for big-wheeled strollers (BOB) and kids on bikes.
We are especially enamored of the playground, the ponds, and the rocky beach. The wetland pond area is newly restored. Kids and adults alike will enjoy looking for native pacific tree frogs, the strikingly beautiful black and white bufflehead duck, and red-winged blackbirds. A beaver family moved in last year and promptly felled scores of carefully planted trees and dammed up the various storm water outlets. We enjoyed the spectacle but it must have given the City planners fits.
The paved promenade parallel to the beach is relatively flat and makes an ideal place for kids learning how to ride bikes. This area also has ample blackberry bushes for a delicious feast, come summer harvest time.
Directions: From Sand Point Way NE, turn east onto 65th street into the park.Travel 0.3 miles on 65th before taking a left into the parking lot. This is the first turn after the intersection with Sportfield Drive.
Travel Tips: In the summer, the beach is staffed with lifeguards and there is a floating dock with diving board. The adjacent wading pool, while small, is ideal for toddlers. Call the hotline (206-684-7796) before going, as it is opened only above 70F.
Click here for an interactive map of the walking route.