The Wahkiakum Lane Trail is a heaven for bird watchers and naturalists in the Seattle region. The trail itself is not very crowded one. It is about 1.5 miles of lightly trafficked trail that is predominantly used by students and faculty from the University of Washington. Students from the College of Environment work on restoring and maintaining these wetlands. The trail is also opened for public use, and you may very likely find runners or joggers on it on a good sunny day. It is part of the Union Bay Natural Area, which is an undertaking by the University of Washington to rehabilitate a more natural area from what was historically Seattle’s largest garbage dump.
The trail runs through the wetland and along the edge of Lake Washington, and it offers views of Montlake Bridge and Husky Stadium. Walk on Wahkiakum Lane Trail and take the first left to stay on a gravel trail passing through the Shoveler’s Pond (look for migratory waterfowl in winter). Proceed to the lakeshore for views of Lake Washington and Highway 520 on the horizon. It is very likely to find people kayaking or canoeing or in their private boats on the lake during the summer. The trail has various benches where you can sit, relax and enjoy the silence amidst the urban world. After a further walk, you will find few other ponds with ruddy ducks and blue winged teals. You might also catch glimpse of ospreys and turtles. There are some apple and peach trees planted along the trail.
Visit the Center for Urban Horticulture to enjoy their beautiful garden or pick up a brochure to learn about their efforts to maintain and restore the Union Bay Natural Area. Continue further to Yesler Swamp, which is a very short boardwalk trail running through the marshy land, for more views of nature up close.
Note restoration and maintenance activities frequently result in trail closures and detours.