City Strolls

By Jeremy Cogswell and Havana Hakala

Imagine a hike where you don’t have to center your entire day around making the trek to a remote location. Urban hiking is an alternative type of hiking, defined  as a “walk through the city with a sense of adventure.” As Seattleites, we are fortunate to live in a city with a plethora of urban hiking options. Here are three popular spots for prime Seattle urban hikes. 


What even is urban hiking? The answer: “a walk through the city with a sense of adventure.” And Seattle is chock full of parks and paths that provide perfect alternatives to making the trek to a remote location for a hike. Here are three popular spots for prime Seattle urban hikes.

Interlaken Park:

A heavily wooded hillside in between Montlake and Capitol Hill, the park is 51.7 acres with a trail of 1.1 miles. This park is located by Steven’s Elementary and Volunteer Park. Interlaken is known for its variations in incline and lush canopy.

Discovery Park:

A park in Magnolia, on the shores of the Puget Sound, with 2.8 miles of trails. It is the largest park in Seattle, and is built on the historic grounds of Fort Lawton. Discovery Park is more coastal, with an authentic lighthouse and views of the Puget Sound.

Washington Park Arboretum: 

A swampy park in Montlake on the shores of Lake Washington. The park is 230 acres and contains playfields as well as a Japanese garden. There is a 3.8 mile loop trail that includes a boardwalk over the water. Featuring maple and cherry trees within the park, this location offers natural views and peace of mind.

We reviewed a hike in Interlaken Park: 

From the moment we walked down the stairway into Interlaken park, it felt as if we were miles away from the busy streets. The thick tree growth and steep hillsides obstruct the ambiance of Seattle, allowing you to focus completely on nature. The air was fresh and we were surrounded by birds squawking from the canopy above.

The trail itself can be best described as ‘choose your own adventure’. There are constant forks, which adds unpredictability to the journey. They allow you to make impulsive decisions and see where the forest spits you out. We ran into a couple of cool features along our hike, such as a small creek flowing at the bottom of the ravine and a pretty stone bench. 

Overall, we felt rejuvenated by the experience. As people who generally are reluctant to go on hikes, Havana and I found a happy compromise in urban hiking. We experienced the same relaxing benefits of nature found on a longer hike, yet the brevity of the trip (under an hour) allowed us to be productive the rest of the day.