Union Bay Sea Kayaking

Montlake, Seattle

Seattle + Tacoma Metro Area, Washington

Start Exploring
Union Bay Sea Kayaking


  • Launching from the small gravel beach at West Montlake Park.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • Entering the Montlake Cut from the west.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • Sailboats lined up on a dock next to the University of Washington.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • A windsurfer catching the last bit of wind from the storms earlier in the day.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • A bald eagle is spotted in a tree on Broken Island.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • A bald eagle watching from a tree in Union Bay.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • Exploring the University Slough.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • Exploring a small bay on the north side of Union Bay- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • A water-lily flower (Nymphaea alba) blooms. - Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • A mother duck and duckling in cluster of water-lilies.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • Sections of the new WA-520 floating bridge are staged near the western end of WA-520 in Union Bay.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • The sun sets over the University of Washington.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
  • "Aurora Borealis" by Max Gurvich just east of Foster Island in Union Bay.- Union Bay Sea Kayaking
Overview + Weather
Close to Seattle. Easy access. Many other adventures in the area.
Very busy. No beaches or landing opportunities.
Seattle + Tacoma Metro Area, WA
Site characteristics: Water: 
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Portage required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.90 mi (7.89 km)
Water difficulty: 
Easy / Class A
Current Local Weather:
Paddle Description

Paddle Description


Before the completion of the Ship Canal and the opening of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Union Bay extended well into the present-day shopping center of University Village. After the canal's completion and the subsequent 9-foot drop in water level in Lake Washington in 1916, much of the bay drained away, and the marsh retreated to its current protected area now known as the Union Bay Natural Area.

Located on the western shore of Lake Washington, Union Bay officially terminates at the eastern opening of the Montlake Cut and encompasses the waters north of the Arboretum between Webster Point and the north shore of Madison Park. Features of the bay include the WA-520 bridge, a large art instillation by Max Gurvich entitled "Aurora Borealis," and the University Slough. Union Bay has several islands including Foster Island, Broken Island, and the creatively named Number 2 Island. The University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center rents canoes and rowboats to students, faculty, and the general public.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(97 within a 30 mile radius)

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
10 Members
Who's Done It
10 Members
Submission by
20 Adventures Explored
19 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info