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Cool Off with a Walk

With temperatures expected to reach or exceed record highs this weekend, why not cool off with a walk?  This stroll will take you alongside a cool stream in a deep forest, past restaurants and a bakery, to a fish ladder, and finally to the shores of the Puget Sound.

Fauntleroy to Lincoln - Click for larger image

Fauntleroy Park is a little known, hidden gem of a park in West Seattle.  You’ll find several different entries to the park – on SW Barton St, SW Cambridge St, SW 97th St, behind the Fauntleroy Church, and others – all of which are just a few steps from Metro bus stops for route 21 or 54.  The park contains a lush forest that will keep you cool on even the hottest of days.  A network of trails meanders through the park on both sides of Fauntleroy Creek traversing this deep, verdant ravine.

Creek crossings are numerous in Fauntleroy Park

The SW 97th St entrance starts high on the hills above the Sound at nearly 400 feet elevation.  The trail immediately enters a forest featuring western red cedar, hemlock, Douglas fir, and bigleaf maple to name a few.  Descend, steeply at times, to a junction.  Go straight to access Fauntleroy Creek and trails on the north side of the park.  Go left and follow a sometimes trail-sometimes boardwalk above the stream.  No matter which route you choose, enjoy the sounds of the stream and the birds as you head downstream to the west.  At the west edge of the park near the Fauntleroy Church take a break on the creekside benches at the Glen Garden.

Crosswalk at the Fauntleroy School House

Continue heading west across California Ave SW via the mid block crosswalk linking the Church to the Fauntleroy School House.  Follow sidewalks to the southwest and soon enter the quaint Endolyne business area.  Tucked beneath the hill you just descended and the Puget Sound to the west, this little nook offers a number of options for those needing to refuel.  Stop into the bakery for a cup of joe or have lunch at one of the fine restaurants. 

Head west from the intersection of 45th Ave SW and SW Wldwood Pl on the north side of the roadway and come to the Fauntleroy Fish Ladder in just three blocks.  Perched above Fauntleroy Creek, this site offers salmon viewing in the fall, noteworthy art, and interesting historical facts about the location. 

At the Fauntleroy Fish Ladder

By now you’ve likely felt the cool breezes blowing off the Puget Sound which is now in sight.  Head north on Fauntleroy past a stately stand of large trees framing views of Lincoln Park’s rocky beach and the Vashon Ferry Terminal.  At SW Cloverdale St use the pedestrian signal to cross over to the west side of the roadway and enter Lincoln Park. 

Head due west into Lincoln passing a parking lot, a playground, and a picnic area and descend nearly 150 feet to the shores of the Puget Sound.  The shore area of the park offers a number fun options – hop along the beach on driftwood, have a picnic on the grass at the foot of the bluff, take a nap beneath a madrona, or watch the ferries shuttle back and forth from Vashon and Southworth. 

At this point, you may be content in calling it day after descending nearly 400 feet in just over 1.25 miles.  However, the multi-use pathway hugs the shoreline to the north for almost another mile.  Keep on walking along the cool waters of the Sound past the Coleman Pool, walk barefoot on the sandier beach on the north side of the point, and let the magnificent views of the Olympic Mountains inspire.

Lincoln Park and the Puget Sound