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Seattle Parks: Schmitz Park

Posted by Johnine Larsen on April 14, 2015
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Seattle_-_Schmitz_Park_road_01-2Seattle has it all.

Beautiful waterfront? Check.

Bustling nightlife? Check.

Old-growth forest? Check.

That’s right, Seattle has old-growth forest. Not in the mountains, and not in some Eastside suburb. There’s a patch of 100% authentic old-growth forest right in West Seattle’s Admiral District.

Welcome, Schmitz Park.

It’s a beautiful little canyon tucked away in the middle of residential West Seattle, filled with all the scenery of your favorite Cascade expedition. Want giant evergreens, lush moss, and vibrant ferns? You got ‘em.

At 53 acres, Schmitz Park is big enough to hold two hiking loop trails. It’s like a miniature version of Discovery Park, if you replaced Discovery’s crowds with thousands of never-been-logged trees. It’s never been easier to find solitude and untouched nature.

So how’d it get there? You won’t find old-growth forest anywhere else in Seattle. Well, back between 1908 and 1912, as the rest of Seattle was developing around them, a few landowners hoped to preserve part of the forest in its natural state. So they donated Schmitz Preserve to the city, the largest piece from coming from Ferdinand Schmitz. More than 100 years later, we can say their plan worked.

A few places in Schmitz Park were logged before the preserve was created, and you can see several enormous stumps leftover from those early logging days. But besides the parking lot and the trails, the rest of the park is pure old-growth forest.

Schmitz Park a great place to take the kids for a short hike or walk the dog after dinner. And because it’s so close, you don’t need to reserve a spot on the calendar to experience the little-known Schmitz Park. Plus, it’s close to Johnine!

Schmitz Park

5551 SW Admiral Way,
Seattle, WA 98116
6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Bonus Tip: Your can get to Schmitz Park via a little walking and the West Seattle water taxi!


Photo by Joe Mabel