One of the perks of living in Magnolia, NW of downtown Seattle, is that I’m within a stone’s throw of the magnificent Discovery Park. Located on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, the 534-acre natural park has spectacular views of both the Cascades and the Olympic Mountains. You walk by open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, and two miles of tidal beaches.
It’s a great spot for a walk, hike, or run with multiple excellently marked trails (maps at the Visitor’s Center), among them a 3 mile/5k loop trail and a longer 5 mile/8k beach trail that will take you down to the beach and back up again, one of my favorite running routes near my house. You can walk by Fort Lawton’s Officers’ Row, which has been refurbished into expensive private homes. In the summer, there is nothing better than to pack good food and drinks and head to the beach for an informal dinner picnic with friends. The water is too cold for swimming, and with the wastewater treatment plant nearby you’ll want to stay out of it anyway, but don’t let that discourage you from heading to the beautiful beach with its old lighthouse and sun-bleached driftwood for the kids to climb on.
Formerly a military area housing Fort Lawton, the park area was reclaimed by the city in 1972 for recreational purposes. It’s named after Captain George Vancouver’s ship, the HMS Discovery, which explored the area in 1792.