Alki Off The Beaten Path

  • Introduction at South End of Avenue of Stars
    Introduction at South End of Avenue of...
    by glabah
  • entrance to Andover Place Park at Andover & Beach
    entrance to Andover Place Park at...
    by glabah
  • almost the entirety of Andover Place Park is here
    almost the entirety of Andover Place...
    by glabah

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Alki

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    Viewpoint at Manning and 55th Avenue

    by glabah Written Sep 30, 2010
    bench and intersection with view, 55th & Manning
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    In the distant past, it appears there was once a plan for a through street here, when the city's planners were looking at a map (which is flat).

    However, much of Seattle, and certainly many parts of West Seattle and the Alki Peninsula, are decidedly not flat.

    Thus, there are many good reasons to not connect 55th Avenue at the intersection with Manning to Spokane Street, below.

    At some point, this little plot of land will probably be sold off as surplus to the needs, but until that time the vacant lot provides public access to a wonderful view to the west and north. The view angle is probably in the 90 degree range.

    Sunsets are probably wonderful from here on many days.

    Some thoughtful person has even provided a bench to sit on to enjoy the view from here.

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    Schmitz Park: Trails and Peace and Quiet

    by glabah Written Sep 30, 2010
    bench and trail amid the forest of Schmitz Park
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    Located on a hillside in a residential area, but not far from the Alki shops and main business district, Schmitz Park offers a number of trails and is sheltered from neighborhood noise with its dense forests. A small stream runs through the middle of the park, and a bench or two near the stream provides a relaxing place with the water drowning out any residual noise from the nearby city.

    Trails are quite steep in places, but there is a backbone trail that starts at 58th Ave and Stevens Street and works its way up the hill from there which is a good starting point. There are a number of other trail entrances to the park, but almost all of them are on the edge of the canyon. This means that you face an uphill climb back out of the canyon once you go into the park. The entrance in the far northwest corner allows you to go uphill into the park and exit by going downhill.

    Or, if you arrive and depart by bus you can arrive at the top of the hill and depart using one of the bus routes at the bottom of the hill, and never have to walk downhill.

    How To Get Here:

    From Alki Avenue, turn south onto any convenient road between 56th and 59th, and keep making your way south towards 58th and Stevens. The trail entrance is hidden off a gravel driveway that comes south and then east. Look for the park entry signs.

    Closest bus route at the bottom of the hill is 53 and 775 (the seasonal Water Taxi Shuttle).

    Another entry is on SW Admiral Way.

    Bus route 57 serves the southeast edge of the park, and 56 goes over the park on Admiral Way.

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    Me-Kwa-Mooks Park

    by glabah Written Sep 29, 2010
    view into Puget Sound from Me-Kwa-Mooks Park
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    Located across the street from the Emma Schmitz Viewpoint, this park is almost entirely forested hillside. There are trails through the park, and these are fairly steeply sloping in most locations.

    The park has a severe invasive plant species problem, and has therefore been adopted by students at a nearby grade school. These students put in volunteer effort to clear the park of these problem plants and help restore the native state of the park.

    Due to the density of the forest, there are not a huge number of opportunities for spectacular views that might be otherwise possible here, but there are a few places with branches cleared and out of the way.

    There is an open grass field directly across Beach Drive from Emma Schmitz Viewpoint that has a picnic table or two, a brief history of the park written on a sign, and is used as an off-leash dog area even though it is not officially designated as such.

    The name "Me-Kwa-Mooks" roughly means "Shaped Like a Bear's Head" and was what the native Nisqually people called the small peninsula on which Alki Point and West Seattle now sit. If you look at a map it is possible to see why they would call this area by this name.

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    Emma Schmitz Park and Viewpoint

    by glabah Written Sep 29, 2010
    view out into Puget Sound, Emma Schmitz Viewpoint
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    With shore line access for about 1/4 of a mile along Beach Drive, this park provides water access and extensive views of Puget Sound. As this point sticks out slightly from land, it is possible to see approximately 200 degrees from south, west, and north. In the distance there are the Olympic Mountains and islands.

    The park has well maintained open grass, concrete staircases and walkways, and a staircase that goes down to beach level. At high tide the water may actually go up the staircase a step or two, but at low tide a fairly extensive mud flat may be explored.

    Across the street is Me-Kwa-Mooks Park, which has a single portable toilet inside a shelter.

    How to Get Here: Located at 4503 Beach Dr. SW, Seattle 98116. Served by bus routes 37 and 53 which go to Alaska Junction, where connections may be obtained to get to downtown Seattle.

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    Andover Place Shoreline Access

    by glabah Written Sep 29, 2010
    almost the entirety of Andover Place Park is here
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    You will notice that the name of this tiny park doesn't include the name "park" and it is appropriate that it doesn't as the place is absolutely tiny. It appears that this was originally set aside as part of the right of way for Andover Street, but was never developed as such.

    Thus, the park is a tiny (mabye 10 foot wide) chunk of land that goes down to the beach between two fences on the properties north and south of this tiny park.

    The park has been set aside as a demonstration garden to show how carefully selecting the plantings in a particular location can make a huge difference in maintenance. Each plant was selected for the location it is in, its ability to withstand the Pacific Northwest climate, and its popularity with wildlife.

    Beach views include mountains and islands in the distance, but you can't get far out enough to see significant parts of the Olympic Mountains unless it is low tide.

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    Cormorant Cove Park

    by glabah Updated Dec 3, 2009

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    Cormorant Cove Park, with view to Puget Sound
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    Located somewhat south of the tip of the Alki Peninsula, this small park was purchased by the city of Seattle in 1995 at the urging and fund raising of concerned citizens living along the Alki Peninsula. After a great deal of public involvement, and considerable effort by the artists involved in designing how to use the space, the park was finally opened in 2000.

    There are a few scattered benches around a small courtyard. and a second circular courtyard with a single bench pointed in a direction that gives a great view out to Puget Sound. Both are paved with artistic stones. Among the features of these stones is written the history of the park.

    There are paved ramps leading to the two courtyards, and a small beach (small stones rather than sand) may be accessed from the park.

    A staircase also leads from Beach Drive down to the lower edge of the park, and the handrail is a beautiful creation featuring wildlife profiles.

    Among other things, the park is supposed to provide education about providing backyard wildlife habitat.

    Address: 3701 Beach Dr. SW

    Bus routes 37 and 53 serve this area.

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    Weatherwatch Park

    by glabah Written Dec 3, 2009

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    West Seattle Weatherwatch Park and Olympic view
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    Years ago, this little park was actually a ferry dock. In 1907 SW Carroll Street was widened to create space for this ferry dock, and the landing was completed in 1916. In 1920, the South Alki dock ceased to be served by any of the ferry operators. From that time to November 5th, 1990, the lot was vacant. After that date, efforts on creating the park were ongoing.

    The park has a wonderful view of the Olympic Mountains, despite its small size, and it used to be that people would visit the vacant lot to watch the weather coming - and thus the name "Weatherwatch Park" was chosen.

    An artistic bench has a profile of the Olympic Mountain peaks, complete with names on most of them.

    The pavement under this bench is formed with bricks, each of which was purchased by local residents to raise funds to turn this city owned vacant land into a park.

    The largest piece of artwork in the park is a weather-vane like sculpture that sits high on a pole. The base of the pole features some historic information, including the history of the park and neighborhood photographs from years past.

    A small beach (stones, not sand) is part of the park and may be accessed from Beach Drive through the park.

    Address: 4035 Beach Dr. SW

    Bus routes 37 and 53 serve this area.

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    Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint

    by glabah Updated Dec 3, 2009

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    artwork on wall at the Charles Richey Sr Viewpoint
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    Located at the far southern end of Constellation Park, this viewpoint features artwork cast into the walls of a large concrete cistern on the edge of Puget Sound. Much of the artwork features sea creatures that you will find along the beach, and perhaps left behind when the tide goes down.

    One of the large murals includes educational information on the various salt water creatures.

    There are several benches and a raised platform on top of the cistern to allow for a slightly better view, but not that much better than provided by the sidewalk along Constellation Park and the Avenue of the Stars.

    Address: 63rd Ave. SW and Beach Dr. SW

    Nearest bus service is at the south end of the park, with bus routes 37 and 53.

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    Constellation Park

    by glabah Updated Dec 3, 2009

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    view looking northwest along Constellation Park
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    The problem with Alki Beach and its companion parks along the north side of the Alki Peninsula is that Alki Avenue and Harbor Drive are both very busy roads, though they do get less busy as you go further west.

    Constellation Park is located on the south side of the Peninsula, and the road along the beach here is rarely used. This makes Constellation Park a very pleasant place to sit and watch the waves or otherwise make use of the shoreline.

    The beach here is rocky, and fairly full of driftwood, so it isn't the best of beaches if you are looking for a sandy Ocean style beach.

    Several pieces of public art also exist in the park. This includes the Avenue of Stars and several works on the Charles Richey viewpoint at the south end of the park that emphasise the wildlife found on the beaches here.

    From here there are views out toward Vashon Island and looking south along Puget Sound.

    Address: 63rd Ave. SW and Beach Dr. SW

    Nearest bus service is at the south end of the park, with bus routes 37 and 53.

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    Avenue of Stars at Constellation Park

    by glabah Written Dec 2, 2009

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    Introduction at South End of Avenue of Stars
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    Running along one of the least trafficed beachfront streets in West Seattle, you will find a section of sidewalk that is called "Avenue of Stars". Laid out on the sidewalk are 27 star constellations, arranged in accordance with the time of year they appear in the sky and are viewable in the park, at about 10 in the evening during the given season.

    In order to view the constellations, you need to look out over Puget Sound on a clear night.

    The penants are fused into the sidewalk in Bronze.

    The city beach park here is called "Constellation Park" but it is referred to in the Seattle city parks database as "Charles Richey Sr Viewpoint".

    The "start" of the Constellations is at the southern end of the walkway, near the viewpoint.

    Address: 63rd Ave. SW and Beach Dr. SW

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