Pets allowed
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

It’s no secret that the people of the Pacific Northwest pride themselves on living in a region with such abounding natural beauty. Seattle models this well, and aspects of its cityscape blend bustling urban life and incredibly scenic views of mountain and sea. While you don’t have to travel far within the city to find a great view, scoring a little solitude isn’t always as easy; set within the quiet Magnolia neighborhood on 534 acres of forests, beaches and meadows, Discovery Park has more than enough space and scenery to go around.

Much of the grounds overlook the Puget Sound, and on clear days you can see the Olympic Mountains jutting into the western horizon above Bainbridge Island and Mount Rainier towering over headlands to the south. An efficient, 11.8-mile network of hiking and biking trails navigate the park’s diverse terrain. The Loop Trail is a favorite among visitors, making a wide circuit through the park’s forest and prairie habitats. Chances of viewing wildlife are high, and over 270 different species of birds have been sighted and documented by the Seattle Audubon Society.

Discovery Park rests on the historical grounds of Fort Lawton, which was operated by the United States Army for most of the 20th century. In 1971, almost half of the 1,100 acres were deemed as surplus and later given back to the city, eventually becoming Seattle’s largest public park. Today, many of the buildings remain standing near the center of the park, which has been designated as the Fort Lawton Historic Area. This, along with the West Point Lighthouse at the convergence of the north and south beaches, are both on the National Register for Historic Places.

Note: Car access to the beach area is restricted, and required permits can be obtained from the visitor center.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Excellent views. Diverse natural environment. Over 10 miles of trails.


Near treatment plant.


ADA accessible
Historically significant
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Picnic tables
Bird watching



The largest sewage treatment facility in the area is located next to Discovery Park, near the lighthouse and the beach. A flood damaged it early this year and it has still not been fixed and is currently pouring tons of semi-treated sewage into the sound. Most of the park is still great but when you get close to the lighthouse you can smell the sewage, which is disgusting. I drove down to the lighthouse last month and promptly closed my windows and got out of there!
Took a late afternoon, near-dusk hike at Discovery Park. It was chilly and rainy, but the drizzle lifted once we got there. Very flat hike for the dog and kid. Great views despite the overcast skies.
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