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South Canyon Trail Loop

Saint Edward State Park

Seattle + Tacoma Metro Area, Washington

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South Canyon Trail Loop

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  • Forest canopy at Saint Edward State Park.- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • Sword fern (Polystichum munitum).- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • South Canyon Trail at Saint Edward State Park.- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • Herb Robert geranium (Robertianum).- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii).- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • Hike along the South Canyon Trail at at Saint Edward State Park.- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • Hike along the South Canyon Trail at at Saint Edward State Park.- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • Lake Washington shoreline at at Saint Edward State Park.- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • Lake Washington shoreline at at Saint Edward State Park.- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • Old-growth black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) at at Saint Edward State Park.- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • Old-growth black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) at at Saint Edward State Park.- South Canyon Trail Loop
  • - South Canyon Trail Loop
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Secluded Lake Washington shoreline and swimming area. Old-growth cottonwoods.
Cons: 
Limited views along trail.
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Region:
Seattle + Tacoma Metro Area, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Parking Pass: 
Washington Discovery Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking
Total Distance: 
1.80 mi (2.90 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
110.00 ft (33.53 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Starting at the Saint Edwards Seminary within Saint Edward State Park, the South Canyon Trail descends from the well-groomed lawns of the historic seminary into a lush and more wild third-growth forest of Douglas fir, western redcedars, bigleaf maples, and an undergrowth dominated by sword ferns and vine maple.

Once on the trail, it's roughly a 0.75-mile downhill hike to reach Lake Washington, the hike's sole destination, where 4-foot thick old-growth black cottonwoods shade one of the lake's most secluded and underutilized shorelines. Whether because of the length of the walk, or a silent protest against purchasing a Discover Pass, or the overwhelming popularity of nearby O.O. Denny Park and Juanita Beach Park, this park's swimming area seems to be completely overlooked, making it one of the most relaxed and tranquil settings anywhere on Lake Washington.

Once you're ready to make the return hike, venture onto any one of the park's trails that all eventually lead back to the seminary. This includes the Grotto Trail, which passes by a unique alcove that is popular among locals for weddings and other private gatherings.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(89 within a 30 mile radius)

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