Alki Penensula Walkway and Bike Path
Running from the edges of the Port of Seattle and Jack Block Park at the southeast edge of the Alki Peninsula and Duwamish Head all the way around to the end of the Peninsula, there is a paved walkway and a parallel bicycle trail along Harbor Avenue and Alki Avenue. If the sidewalks and lesser traveled roads south of Alki Point are considered, the series of parks runs all the way to Lincon Park and the community of Fauntleroy. Doing this produces a walk of approximately 5.5 miles (9 km) one way, and passes by a series of waterfront parks and viewpoints.
As many tourists arrive in West Seattle by way of the King County Water Taxi, I will write this tip starting from that point.
Arriving from Seattle on the King County Water Taxi (which does not operate in Winter), you arrive in West Seattle at Seacrest Park, which is one of a series of waterfront parks that run for quite some distance along the shoreline.
If you go directly south from Seacrest Park, this waterfront trail only goes a short distance, to Jack Block Park, which provides an unusual seriesl of raised platforms giving a view of the operations of the port of Seattle, as well as downtown Seattle.
Going north from Seacrest Park and follwing the logical series of waterfront sidewalks, your visit would touch Anchor Park and Alki Beach and the Statue of Liberty and Constellation Park and Cormorant Cove Park and Weatherwatch Park and Me-Kwa-Mooks Park and Lornan Beach Park, assuming that you walked south all the way to Lincon Park.
Lincoln Park is served by bus service from downtown Seattle, and is only two blocks from the ferry from Fauntleroy to Vashon Island, so if you do decide to walk you can do so only one direction if you so desire. Other areas close to Alki Point and the central core of West Seattle are served by free buses that operate in conjunction with the King County Water Taxi, and therefore do not operate in winter. Various other bus routes also serve west Seattle, so I was able to get around OK even during the winter months - you just have to watch the timetables and locations more carefully.
I should point out, however, that as you go south from Constellation Park, there are residences along the beach and public access to the beach is limited to far fewer parks.
If the tide is low enough, when you get to the southeast end of Alki Beach Park, I have been told that it is possible to walk around the end of the Peninsula and get close to the Alki Point Lighthouse. However, I never saw the water that low.
If the tide is high, you can take local low traffic streets between the end of Alki Beach Park and Constellaton Park. Simply continue on Alki Avenue Southwest to Beach Drive Southwest, and continue south as far as you feel like. Once you get past Constellation Park there is bus service on Beach Drive.
There are good views of Seattle from the areas of the walkway that face downtown Seattle, and on a clear day the western reaches of the walkway have a great view of the Olympic Mountains. Further south the several parks face Vashon Island.
Harbor Avenue and Alki Avenue are heavily trafficed streets on the east side of the peninsula, but the further west you go the less traffic there is.
- Hiking and Walking
Anchor Park / Luna Park
Anchor Park is the name of this park on several tourist maps, but the name "Luna Park" (reference to the old name of the facility here) is still in use to some extent. There is a good view of the Seattle skyline from here, a number of benches, and a ships anchor of some 2.5 tons that was recovered during a diving and dredging operation. As this park is located at the north end of Duwamish Head, there are few places in West Seattle that allow a better view than this little park, as it provides approximately 300 degrees of view out over Puget Sound, from the Port of Seattle in the south all the way around to the southern end of Bainbridge Island.
The wide paved walkway on the water edge that runs the length of the Alki Peninsula runs through the southern edge of this park. It is a very short walk from the King County Water Taxi north to this little park and viewpoint.
In the early days of West Seattle, a concrete structure was erected on the beach at the far north of the Alki Peninsula. Upon this structure stood a carousel, a saltwater natatorium, and other items of a small amusement park were constructed. This amuseument park was called Luna Park, and lasted into the 1930s.
The natatorium opened in 1907.
The swimming pool remained in operation until 1931, when the large wooden building in which it was built burned to the ground.
In the 1950s, the cement walls of the swimming pool were filled, and a park, which on some maps is called "Anchor Park" created on top of the fill.
By the 1990s the concrete walls were badly cracked, and in 2004 these were removed completely, leaving the new "Anchor Park" on risers above Puget Sound.
- Hiking and Walking
While it isn't the best park in West Seattle, Seacrest Park is the park in West Seattle that many tourists visit each day during the peak season because this is the end point for the King County Water Taxi.
There are great views of downtown Seattle from here, and on a clear day you can sort of see Mount Rainier through the Port of Seattle clutter to the south. Certainly there are better viewpoints of Seattle's skyline, but the one provided by this park certainly isn't bad either.
There is a concrete path that leads through the park, and there are small to medium sized trees scattered about the park, with a few benches as well.
There is a beach of sorts, but it is small, steeply sloped and very rocky - not sand.
From here the paved pathway leads all the way around the Alki Peninsula to the end of Alki Beach park, and going further than that is easy by following local streets to Constellation Park.
- Hiking and Walking
Don Armeni Park: Boat Ramp with Viewpoint
One of the several parks along the base of the hill on which most of West Seattle sits, Don Armeni Park sits just north of Seacrest Park, and has a few small trees and a continuation of the waterfront trail and bike path through it. There are benches that overlook the view of Seattle. The unique feature here is the boat ramp, as none of the other parks along the West Seattle waterfront have a place for the public to launch small pleasure craft from trailers. Use of the boat ramp requires the user to pay at a self-serve pay station.
The small trees are a nice touch of shade on a hot day, but if it isn't a hot day the view from Anchor Park is a bit better, as it allows approximately 300 degrees of view at the end of Duwamish Head. This includes the Olympic Mountains and downtown Seattle. Anchor Park is just a short walk north of Don Armeni Park.
The Seattle City Parks web site says this is the most popular of Seattle's salt water boat ramps, so you should take into account the possible crowding during peak tourist and vacation times.
On some of the maps, Don Armeni Park is listed as being Hamilton Viewpont Park.
- Sailing and Boating
- Hiking and Walking
West Seattle Farmer's Market
Operating since 1999, the West Seattle Farmers Market features over 35 Washington State farmers and small food processors. Fresh fruit from both sides of the state include berries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apples, and melons. Market tables are also loaded with local organic produce, all kinds of seasonal vegetables, fresh farm cheeses, herbs, mushrooms, free-range chicken and eggs, seafood, pastured organic beef, ciders, honey, preserves, fresh baked bread and pastries, cut flowers, and plant starts.
The market hosts live music, activities for kids and other events throughout the season. Gardening and composting information booths are also at the market each week during the summer.
Every Sunday, 10am to 2pm, year-round.
I enjoy the market rain or shine, it is a part of my West Seattle community. I will usually go there and then stop off at the Nouveau Bakery on California Ave., for a twice cooked almond croissant or another delectable pastry.
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