Hiking Boots on the Bus

Everyone knows The Mountains to Sound Greenway has some of the best hiking trails in this area. A rainy day hike to Granite Lakes a couple of weekends ago was no exception. With abundant hiking in the nearby Alpine Lakes Wilderness (the closest wilderness area to any major metropolitan area in the country!), it can be easy to overlook the wonderful trails in our neighborhood parks. Even the smallest urban trails can be places to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life for reflection! Some of them, like the Mercer Slough Heritage Trail, can give us a peek into our history. Others, such as Seward Park’s interior trails, are wooded enough that we can immerse ourselves in nature, forgetting the city is nearby.

How can those who choose not to, or can’t afford to, own a car get to these urban oases? Walking and biking are excellent options depending on your physical ability level and your proximity to the park. As far as transit is concerned, at least in the City of Seattle (we were asked by SDOT –see The Process* below for more information), trails are very well served by transit.

In Seattle there are 47 trails within a ½ mile of transit, 40 within a ¼ mile, and 34 that are adjacent! For more information see table 1. For suggestions including hikes outside of Seattle accessible by bus see Seattle Metro Bus Hiking. Happy hiking!

Table 1. Accessibility of trails by transit in Seattle.

Trail location


¼ Mile?

½ Mile?

Alki Trail Yes Yes Yes
Burke Gilman Yes Yes Yes
Camp Long Yes Yes Yes
Carkeek Park (Piper’s Creek Trail, 100thPl and 6th Ave NW) No Yes Yes
Chief Sealth Trail Yes Yes Yes
Cowen Park Yes Yes Yes
Dearborn Park No No Yes
Discovery Park Yes Yes Yes
Dr. Jose Rizal Park Yes Yes Yes
Duwamish Trail Yes Yes Yes
Elliot Bay Trail/ Myrtle Edwards Yes Yes Yes
Fauntleroy Park Yes Yes Yes
Foster Island trails No Yes Yes
Frink Park Yes Yes Yes
Genesee Park and Playfield Yes Yes Yes
Golden Gardens Park Yes Yes Yes
Green Lake trail Yes Yes Yes
Hitt’s Hill Park No Yes Yes
I-5 Colonnade Yes Yes Yes
Interlaken Park Yes Yes Yes
Interurban Trail Yes Yes Yes
Kinnear Park Yes Yes Yes
Lake People Park (Xacua’bs) No No Yes
Lake Washington Blvd trail Yes Yes Yes
Lakeridge Park No No Yes
Lawton Park Yes Yes Yes
Leschi-Lake Dell Natural Area No No Yes
Licton Springs Park No No Yes
Lincoln Park Yes Yes Yes
Madrona Park Yes Yes Yes
Martha Washington Park No Yes Yes
Matthews Beach Park Yes Yes Yes
Montlake Trail Yes Yes Yes
Mountains to Sound Trail Yes Yes Yes
Mt. Baker Park Yes Yes Yes
Northacres Park No No Yes
Northeast Queen Anne Greenbelt Yes Yes Yes
Pigeon Point Park No Yes Yes
Puget Park (SW Dawson St and 18thAve SW) Yes Yes Yes
Ravenna Park Yes Yes Yes
Schmitz Preserve Park Yes Yes Yes
Seward Park No Yes Yes
Sodo Trail Yes Yes Yes
South Ship Canal Trail Yes Yes Yes
Warren G. Magnuson Park No No Yes
Washington Park Arboretum Yes Yes Yes
Westcrest Park Yes Yes Yes

*The Process:

A few weeks ago we received a request from the Seattle Department of Transportation locations of the trailheads in Seattle that are served by Metro. It so happened that we had no idea, but we thought it was a question worth researching so I set out to find the answers.

The list of trails within Seattle was combined from a search from Seattle Parks and Recreation and other trails that were left of the Parks and Recreation list for whatever reason (the famous Greenlake loop for example!). To figure out whether these trails are served by Metro I used ½ mile, ¼ mile, and adjacent standards as there is no consensus on how far people will walk to a park. Then it was simply a matter of plugging in and verifying the park addresses, looking for adjacent bus stops on Google Maps, and using Metro Trip Planner to test out walking distance.

Gordon Padelford is a Greenway native and recent graduate of Colby College. He works at the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust through the Department of Ecology’s Washington Conservation Corps (an AmeriCorps program).