Magnolia Bluff Things to Do

  • Hairy Woodpecker along Loop Trail 3 Dec 2012
    Hairy Woodpecker along Loop Trail 3 Dec...
    by glabah
  • Seven Horned Grebes on Water along North Beach
    Seven Horned Grebes on Water along North...
    by glabah
  • Loop Trail by Big Trees in Discovery Park
    Loop Trail by Big Trees in Discovery...
    by glabah

Most Recent Things to Do in Magnolia Bluff

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    Discovery Park: Loop Trail

    by glabah Updated Feb 13, 2014

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    Loop Trail by Big Trees in Discovery Park
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    NOTE: This tip is part of a larger set of tips associated with Discovery Park, but there is enough in this park that I had to break down the complete description into smaller segments about some of the features in the park.

    Providing a circle of Discovery Park, mostly through mature forest lands, the Discovery Park Loop Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park. It connects a large number of the other trails in the park. The loop itself is mostly without severe elevation gain, though the connections it has with a few of the other trails can quickly add some steep hills.

    The trail has some decent viewpoints on the southwest side of the park.

    There are several restroom facilities along the trail, though they are not out in the open. They are set back among the trees and thus may not be noticed unless you look for them.

    The trail is mostly gravel for its entire length, and there are a few places on the south side that are fitted with short stairs. Therefore, it isn't very suitable for those with mobility limitations.

    The far west side of the loop trail has several intersections with other trails. Heading downhill to the lighthouse you can take either the South Beach Trail or the %L[http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/233847/North Beach Trail. On the north side of the park a short branch connects to the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center and a few minor trails near it.

    How to Get Here: The loop trail is easiest to find at the two main parking lots. At the visitor's center that is just slightly west of Government Way and Texas Way, you will find that the Loop Trail leaves from the north side of the parking lot, near a sign that shows all the trails in the park.

    The south parking lot is entered at Emerson & 43rd. The loop trail crosses the driveway just before the parking area.

    Google maps currently shows the Loop Trail, so named on the map of the park.

    Bus routes are #33 and #24. #33 is more direct from downtown Seattle and has its nearest stop at Government Way & Texas Way, and #24 wanders through Magnolia a little bit before arriving at the south parking lot. #33 also has its end of route in the park, and to get to the loop trail from that stop it is necessary to search for a small bark dust trail on the uphill side of the parking area where this bus stop is located. This is a short branch trail that leads uphill to the Loop Trail.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Discovery Park: South Beach Trail

    by glabah Updated Feb 13, 2014

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    South Beach and South Beach Trail
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    NOTE: This tip is part of a larger set of tips associated with Discovery Park, but there is enough in this park that I had to break down the complete description into smaller segments about some of the features in the park.

    As the name implies, the South Beach Trail connects the beach on the south side of the point on which Discovery Park sits with the hill above, and joins the Discovery Park Loop Trail (the main trail that circumnavigates the major portion of the park).

    The trail is a bit more developed than the North Beach trail, but it is still filled with staircases and is a significant drop from the top of the hill to the beach.

    Part of the lower trail is paved.

    There are three observation platforms along this trail that allow for views through the trees (to a varying degree depending on the particular platform and the time of year) out to Puget Sound and of the West Point light house.

    About 1/3 of the way down the hill, there is an opening in the forest that allows a view out to Puget Sound to the south as well, including parts of West Seattle and Alki Point.

    As seen in photo 5, the trail parallels the road to the West Point Sewage Plant for a brief period. While the road isn't hugely busy, it is busy enough that it can be noisy and annoying. However, it is only a very short segment of the trail that is like this.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Discovery Park: Bird Watching

    by glabah Updated Feb 13, 2014
    Seven Horned Grebes on Water along North Beach
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    While there has been a recent (2010 or so) incident of a cougar finding its way into Discovery Park and living there for a time, most of the time the wildlife you find in Discovery Park is limited to bird life.

    What bird life you are likely to find depends on the time of year and where you are in the park. It also depends a lot on the mood of the wildlife and how observant you are.

    There are a lot of forested areas in the park, and thus what is found here will tend to be forest dwelling birds. However, there is also a small open prairie environment at the top of the hill. There is also an entire section of water along the western edge of the park, and this attracts all manner of bird life as well. Most of this water activity, however, seems to happen in the winter, however.

    For the most part, you will want telephoto equipment when attempting to view the bird life in the water. It is usually fairly far out in the water.

    The Photos:

    Photo 1: A group of Horned Grebes as seen from North Beach Trail on 3 Dec 2012.

    Photo 2: A Hairy Woodpecker along the Loop Trail, 3 Dec 2012

    Photo 3: Juvenile Hummingbird along Loop Trail 10 Aug 2012

    For a few more photos of winter bird life on the water, see my Photos from 3 Dec 2012

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching

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    Discovery Park: North Beach Trail

    by glabah Written Sep 24, 2013

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    North Beach Trail along Shore + Log Bench
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    On the north side of Discovery Park, on the Loop Trail you will come to a trail intersection that marks the "North Beach Trial", which is occasionally closed due to small mudslides and other erosion problems.

    The trail is gravel for part of the way, is paved at the bottom of the hill by the beach, and between the two is very rough and steep dirt with rocks protruding in places and stairs in a number of places to try to reduce the mud slides on the trail a little bit.

    The paved part of the north beach trail can be an interesting place in the winter months due to it being a popular location for the birds that winter on Puget Sound to congregate. Various grebes and the occasional bald eagle are seen with reasonable frequency, and various gull species are very common all year.

    At the paved trail at the bottom of the hill, there are several benches along the trail made from large cut logs.

    The trail joins the South Beach Trail at the West Point Light House, at the very tip of the park.

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Hiking and Walking

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    West Point Lighthouse

    by GuthrieColin Updated Jan 13, 2008

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    West Point Lighthouse

    The West Point Lighthouse lies within Discovery Park and is accessed only by walking to it (about 1.5 miles or 2.4 km) unless you have one of those handicapped tags in which case there is a special pass and you may park at a more accessable location.
    West Point Lighthouse ushers boats in and out of Elliot Bay and to the Ballard Locks. The lighthouse is only 23 feet (7 m) tall but has been virtually unchanged since its construction in 1881.
    In late 2002 the lighthouse was declared surplus by the federal government. Plans are in the works to restore the lighthouse and open it to the public, but I it may be a while before that happens.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • National/State Park

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Magnolia Bluff Things to Do

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