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Glacial Erratics: Awesome Giant Rocks to Visit Around Seattle

Huge rocks carried by glaciers are fascinating and fun to climb on

Annie Fanning

Published on: October 21, 2021

Glacial Erratics: Awesome Giant Rocks to Visit Around Seattle

The Wedgwood Rock, Seattle
The Wedgwood Rock, Seattle (don't climb this one)

The Wedgwood Rock, Seattle

This incredible erratic holds court in an informal pocket park at the intersection of Northeast 72nd Street and 28th Avenue Northeast in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood.

According to Maria Dolan and Kathryn True’s excellent guide “Nature in the City: Seattle,” the Wedgwood Rock was formed 163 million years ago, but deposited by the Puget lobe ice sometime between 15,500 and 17,000 years ago. And according to historian Coll Thrush in his book “Native Seattle: Histories From the Crossing-Over Place,” the Wedgwood Rock was once a meeting place for the native peoples of the region.

Approximately 20 feet tall, 75 feet around and ringed with conifers, this marvel should be admired but not climbed upon, as there is a $100 city fine for those who try to scale it.

Unlike some other erratics thick with ferns and moss, the Wedgwood Rock’s moss is thin and patchy. The serpentinized greenstone that makes up this rock is low in plant nutrients and high in toxic metals. (So, don’t lick this erratic!)

For the most fun, park at Dahl Playfield and walk neighboring streets uphill to the erratic. In addition to parking, the Dahl Playfield has rocks aplenty to climb on in the play area, including a stony art installation by John Hoge called “Boulder Wash.”

Getting there: Dahl Playfield is at 7700 25th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA 98115.

To walk to the erratic, exit the playfield at 26th Avenue Northeast and carefully cross Northeast 75th Street. Continue on 26th until you reach Northeast 72nd and follow it uphill to the erratic at 28th Avenue Northeast.

If you go: Bring your wheels. Dahl Playfield has plenty of paths to scoot, plus a skate dot.

For some of the best baked goods in the city, go over the hill to Grateful Bread at 7001 35th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA 98115.

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