Outings + Activities

Secret Urban Wildlife Hikes Around Seattle and the Eastside

These critter-rich greenspaces are a perfect spring outing with young kids

Editor's note: Find the first “secret urban hikes”  article here.

“Mom, I wanna see that secret trail!” says my son, pointing to an overgrown path leading further into the park we are exploring. All around us are the twitters of chestnut-backed chickadees serenading us from the treetops above our heads. The appeal of both a “secret, off-the-beaten-track” path within the city and the chance of seeing or hearing urban wildlife is an irresistible draw to our family.

We’ve been exploring the tucked-away wild areas around Lake Washington over the past two years, and have discovered some special places that are not only fun to explore but also home to many different types of wildlife.

These urban hikes are part of official city open space but are not as well-known as our larger parks. Each offers different ecosystems to explore, and many are maintained by dedicated neighbors in addition to the municipality it occupies. Most are short hikes ideal for toddlers and preschoolers, although older children will love them as well.

Browse all the hikes, or go to the first one.

Northcrest Park, Shoreline

Beaver Pond natural area, North Seattle

North Seattle Community College greenbelt trails, North Seattle

St. Mark's Greenbelt, Capitol Hill, Seattle

Montlake Community Park waterfront, Seattle

Black River riparian forest, Renton

Totem Lake wetland trail, Kirkland

Yarrow Bay Wetland, Kirland

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