Seattle's Green Oasis: Embark on an Olmsted-Inspired Walking Route to Explore Dozens of the City's Finest Parks

"Seattle Olmsted 50: Charting a Cultural Odyssey Through Emerald City's Parks and Green Havens"

In the bustling urban landscape of Seattle, where each neighborhood tells a story, a visionary walking route has emerged to connect the city's verdant gems. Conceived by Peter Hendrickson, chair of the Mountaineers’ Seattle Urban Walk Committee, and Stuart Johnston, a board member of the nonprofit Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks (FSOP), the Seattle Olmsted 50 is not just a trail but a 50-kilometer (31-mile) journey through time and nature.

This meticulously crafted route weaves through five sections, unveiling a tapestry of parks, green spaces, and boulevards that bear the indelible mark of John Charles Olmsted, the renowned landscape architect. Designed between 1903 and 1912, these outdoor sanctuaries are hailed as nationally important, and the Seattle Olmsted 50 aims to celebrate and connect them in a profound way.

Launching 120 years after the city's approval of the Olmsted plan to redefine its parks system in November 1903, this walking route is not just a stroll; it's a tribute to the visionaries who shaped Seattle's urban greenery. With more than two dozen stops along the way, from the iconic Golden Gardens to the serene Rainier Beach Playfield, the route immerses walkers in the cultural and historical richness embedded in each park.

Seattle, already recognized for having one of the nation’s top 10 park systems by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, now embarks on a new chapter of distinction. Peter Hendrickson envisions the Seattle Olmsted 50 not just as a trail but as a thread weaving through the fabric of the city, making each park more special by connecting them in this walking corridor.

Inspired by examples like San Francisco’s Crosstown Trail and Boston's Walking City Trail, the Seattle Olmsted 50 seeks to offer residents a culturally rich and historically significant walking experience. As Hendrickson notes, the journey is not just about the steps taken but the stories discovered and shared along the way. In this walking odyssey, Seattle invites its residents to traverse not just physical landscapes but the layers of history, design, and natural beauty that define the Emerald City's soul."

"Pioneering Urban Exploration: Seattle's Olmsted 50 Emerges as a Signature Trail, Inspired by San Francisco and Boston"

Bob Siegel, chair of the San Francisco Crosstown Trail Coalition, arrived in Seattle as a walking enthusiast on a mission. The notion of a designated urban walkway for the Emerald City sparked his interest, and he sought a kindred spirit to champion the cause. Enter Peter Hendrickson, an urban walking aficionado and the main instigator for San Francisco's trail. As Siegel shared his vision, Hendrickson recognized a shared passion, having walked both the San Francisco and Boston trails himself.

Siegel's conviction that Seattle needed its own signature trail resonated with Hendrickson, and the two enthusiasts embarked on the journey to bring this vision to life. With the groundwork laid, Hendrickson and his companion Stuart Johnston set out to map the Seattle Olmsted 50, drawing inspiration from successful trails in San Francisco and Boston.

The route planning prioritized accessibility, emphasizing what Hendrickson fondly refers to as the three T's – public Transportation, Toilets, and Treats. The goal is to make each section easily navigable, ensuring that walkers can catch a bus back to their starting point and enjoy amenities along the way.

Much like its predecessors, the Seattle Olmsted 50 is a grassroots effort, led by a dedicated cadre of city walking enthusiasts. Covering existing sidewalks and pathways, the route, estimated to be 90% paved, takes walkers on a captivating journey through Seattle's diverse neighborhoods.

Section 1, spanning 5.9 miles, winds from the Ballard Locks to Woodland Park Zoo, introducing walkers to the charm of Golden Gardens Park and tempting treat stops like Caffe Fiore and Larsen’s Bakery. Section 2 extends 6.4 miles from the zoo to Husky Stadium, guiding walkers through Green Lake, Cowen and Ravenna parks in North Seattle. Section 3, a 6.7-mile stretch, ventures south to the Washington Park Playfield via Marsh and Foster islands, the Washington Park Arboretum, Interlaken and Volunteer parks, and the Seattle Japanese Garden.

As Seattle Olmsted 50 takes shape, it stands as a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives and the shared love for urban exploration. Inspired by the success stories of San Francisco and Boston, this trail promises not just a walk through Seattle's neighborhoods but a journey into its cultural and historical tapestry."

"Exploring Seattle's Tapestry: Unveiling Sections 4 and 5 of the Olmsted 50"

Embark on the penultimate chapters of the Seattle Olmsted 50, a captivating urban walking odyssey that unravels the scenic beauty and cultural richness of the Emerald City. Section 4, a 6-mile stretch, meanders through a plethora of parks, including Lakeview, Denny Blaine, Leschi, Colman, and Madrona Beach, culminating at the serene Stan Sayres Memorial Park. The journey then seamlessly transitions into Section 5, covering 6.8 miles and gracing Genesee and Seward parks, Pritchard Beach, and Be’er Sheva Park before reaching its final destination at the Rainier Beach Playfield in South Seattle.

Currently, the Seattle Olmsted 50 exists as a virtual trail, waiting to be discovered by urban explorers. While no wayfinding signage adorns the route just yet, GPS maps and detailed section descriptions are readily available on the Mountaineers website. Peter Hendrickson, the driving force behind this initiative, envisions a future where Seattle City Parks officially recognizes and endorses this distinctive route, elevating its status as a signature urban trail.

Throughout November, Hendrickson has been leading intrigued walkers on immersive journeys through sections of the Olmsted 50. Two walks remain this month, offering the perfect opportunity to delve into the history and beauty woven into Seattle's parks. Section 4 awaits on November 24, followed by Section 5 on November 28. Registration is a must at mountaineers.org, providing a chance for both members and non-members to participate in this celebration of Seattle's Olmsted legacy.

As the city marks 120 years since the approval of the Olmsted plan for its parks in November 1903, these walks serve as a fitting tribute to the enduring beauty and significance of Seattle's green spaces. Join the journey, register, and step into the rich tapestry of Seattle's Olmsted parks this November."

"As the final steps of the Olmsted 50 unfold, Seattle's urban explorers find themselves at the intersection of history, nature, and community. Sections 4 and 5 complete this captivating walking odyssey, guiding participants through a tapestry of parks that bear the indelible mark of the Olmsted legacy. From the picturesque landscapes of Lakeview, Denny Blaine, and Leschi to the tranquil shores of Madrona Beach, each step unveils the layered beauty of the Emerald City.

While the Olmsted 50 remains a virtual trail, its potential to become an officially recognized route by Seattle City Parks fuels the vision of Peter Hendrickson, the trail's architect. GPS maps and detailed descriptions on the Mountaineers website currently serve as the compass for urban walkers, hinting at the future possibility of wayfinding signage adorning these paths.

November's walks, meticulously led by Hendrickson, not only showcase the diverse sections of the Olmsted 50 but also pay homage to the historical significance of Seattle's Olmsted parks. The timing, marking 120 years since the approval of the Olmsted plan in November 1903, adds a poignant layer to these explorations.

As walkers register for the remaining journeys through Sections 4 and 5, the Olmsted 50 stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of community-led initiatives and the shared love for Seattle's urban treasures. Beyond the physical steps taken, these walks invite participants to immerse themselves in the stories, landscapes, and connections that make Seattle's Olmsted parks a cherished and timeless legacy."