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    Washington Park Arboretum Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    6.1 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    66 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Washington Park Arboretum Trail

    The Washington Park Arboretum is a stunning park filled to the brim with trees and flowers. It’s packed with magnolias, oaks, maples, and more flowers than you could count. A highlight of the arboretum is the stunning Azalea Way. There are meadows, a Japanese Garden, greenhouses, and groves of trees to see. A 6.1 km loop trail explores the park, and with only 66m of elevation gain, it’s easy enough for all skill levels. You can also extend your trip by checking out the other trails that traverse the arboretum. You’ll want to linger a while, we promise.

    Dogs are allowed on this trail but must be kept on leash. The arboretum sees lots of visitors, so try visiting midweek or early in the morning for a quieter experience. Parts of the arboretum, including the Azalea Way, are ADA accessible.

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    Route Description for Washington Park Arboretum Trail

    The Washington Park Arboretum is 230 acres of pure beauty, featuring trees and flowers from countries around the world that border the Pacific. There are endless groves of trees, a gorgeous azalea feature, and unique flowers. Birdwatchers also flock (pun intended) to the park to see the range of species that come to enjoy the greenery.

    This walk covers the arboretum from top to bottom, but we recommend taking the time to explore some of the features of the park that the trail doesn’t include. Stop into the greenhouses, stroll through the meadows, sit for a while in the Japanese gardens, or stroll the coastline on the islands.

    While you can visit the arboretum throughout the year, we recommend coming in the springtime for the best possible experience. The Azalea Way, which is the main road through the arboretum, is in full bloom in the springtime.

    Begin from the visitor center. While you can loop either way, we’ll describe this trail to end with the Azalea Way, which is a nice conclusion to your day. Walking north, the path splits three ways just past the maintenance building. Take the middle trail. You’ll cross the water onto Foster Island and head to the far shore for a view of the water.

    From the shore, turn back and cross over to the mainland arboretum. Retrace your steps to the three-way junction and through the visitor center. Walk past the greenhouse and then turn right past the Sun House and the Shade House. You’ll walk down alongside the meadow and the nursery. Notice the groves of trees and plants as you go, each grouped together in impressive gardens.

    Walk past the pond and then keep left at the junction. You’ll pass the legumes and then the witch hazels, taking a right and then another right to weave through the Pacific Connections Garden. Keep an eye on your map or route as you turn sharply left, right, and then left again onto a path heading south. Turn right twice to get onto the Arboretum Loop Trail, then take a slight right onto Azalea Way.

    Admire the vibrant pink blooms as you wander back through the park. There are a few interesting trails, but you’ll keep going straight ahead back to the visitor center. If you’re here in the right season, the azaleas are truly stellar, so no need to rush this last section.

    When you’re back where you began, you can either depart or find a new trail to explore.
    Trail Highlights

    Washington Park Arboretum

    The Washington Park Arboretum is an oasis in the city, set right next to Lake Washington. The botanical gardens are home to a dizzying array of plant life, including species found nowhere else in the Pacific Northwest. You can either wander the gardens on your own or try a trma tour. The arboretum also hosts events, including forest bathing sessions. The park is run jointly by the University of Washington, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the Arboretum Foundation. It has been open since 1934.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is the Washington Park Arboretum free?

    The arboretum does not charge a fee to enter.

    When is the Washington Park Arboretum open?

    The arboretum is open each day from dawn to dusk.

    When should I visit the Washington Park Arboretum?

    The arboretum can be visited throughout the year, but springtime offers the most impressive flower blooms.

    Insider Hints for Washington Park Arboretum Trail

    • Try one of the arboretum’s forest bathing experiences to get even more in touch with nature.
    • If you’re local, visit in different seasons to see the foliage change.

    Getting to the Washington Park Arboretum Trail Trailhead

    The trailhead for the Washington Park Arboretum walk is next to the gift shop and the visitor center.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type


    Washington Park Arboretum Trail Elevation Graph

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    Washington Park Arboretum Trail Reviews

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