“The stroll along Alki's waterfront has some of the most iconic views of downtown Seattle's skyline.”
— Jessie Morris
Features: Birding — Views — Wildlife
Alki Trail makes for a great, easy run along the waterfront. There are paved or dirt trails most of the way. Most of this path is also lighted with street lights at night for added safety on a night run.
If you've ever seen a photo of the Seattle skyline, chances are it was taken from Alki in West Seattle. The Alki Trail is an easy stroll along the waterfront of the Puget Sound. From here on a clear day, you'll catch views of Mt. Rainier to the south, downtown Seattle to the north, sometimes Mt Baker far, far to the north, and sweeping over to the Olympic Mountains in the west. You really can't beat it for its ease of access, its family friendly nature, and the views. It's a great place to soak up the lovely Seattle summer weather or to get some quiet, fresh air in the off season. KILLER sunsets can be observed from here.
This trail is used by all sorts of activities (walkers, runners, cyclists, rollerbladers, skateboarders, you can rent a surrey - the cycle-powered single/double row vehicles), sand volleyball, and water-sports rentals (SUP, kayak), you name it - so you'll be sharing the trail. In the summer on sunny days, it can get quite crowded, so be prepared. But it's a great spot for quiet in the off season if you don't mind gambling with the weather coming up off the water. Since this trail is along Harbor Ave SW, there is street noise but also plenty of restaurants and bars to stop at once you're done on the trail.
Street parking is available along the entire stretch, making it easy to start and stop from nearly anywhere along the trail. Expect approximately 3.5 miles one way from end-to-end, or 7 miles total round-trip.
Flora & Fauna
Great wildlife spotting from here. Plenty of sea gulls. Habor seals are pretty typical on the north part facing downtown. There have been known to be occasional whale sightings if you catch the right time of the year - Orcas (Oct-Feb), Gray Whale, Dall's Porpoise, Harbor Porpoise, California Sea Lion, and River Otters. Others are more rare - Humpback Whale, Minke Wale, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and Sea Otters.