TRAILBEAR ON THE WATERFRONT – The Elliott Bay Trail
TRAILBEAR ON THE WATERFRONT – The Elliott Bay Trail
Short but scenic.
It’s hard to get up to speed on this trail (no pace lines, please) as there is a lot to see and a lot of peds, dogs, etc. to avoid. Color it a Family Fun outing. Take the kids. Relax and enjoy.
The pavement is blacktop, somewhat narrow but double tracked in places. The scenery ranges from the Interbay rail yards and the cruise ship terminal on the north end to the Olympic Sculpture Park on the south end with a lot of waterfront views in between.
TrailBear happened to be doing his survey on the day they were setting up for HempFest, so he was dodging a lot of interesting counter culture and stoner types. He was sniffing the air as he went along, but a day too soon he was.
Suggest you start in the north at Smith Cove Park because the parking down on the waterfront is “iffy.” It’s a tourist area; there is competition; they want money.
SMITH COVE PARK, N47.63173 W122.38669
Not much of a park, but there is free parking and a nice picnic area on the point with tables, views and water. No restrooms over on this end. There is more park uphill, but the chain link fence shuts you off. Try the marina offices under the restaurant at the Elliott Bay Marina, just down the road. Failing that, go up to Magnolia Park.
Head up the bike-walk or road to the Magnolia Bridge and…
CONFUSION CORNER, N47.63321 W122.38692
Here, below the Magnolia Bridge, the road turns right, but where is the trail? There are no trail signs over on this side of the trail. If TrailBear had not been had a Senior Moment and left his Google Earth trail map in the van, he would have known that it went under the bridge and between a sign for Northwest Harvest and a warehouse over yonder. He could have uploaded the TrailLink gps route, but where is the fun in that?
If you want to go that way, steer for the yellow ecology blocks, enter the parking lot beyond and follow the fence line. The trail runs along the base of the hill, around a vast collection of parking lots, turns east at the top of the school bus parking lot and then heads south alongside the Interbay rail yards.
TrailBear turned right instead and headed up the sidewalk onto the Magnolia Bridge. It is a sight. The underside of the bridge is festooned with steel clamps and trusses and beams and braces and such. One look at the bridge and you know you really do not want to be on, under or near this thing in a quake. Of course, the problem is knowing when the quake will arrive. TB has a dollar that says it will come down in a cloud of dust and rubble.
TB takes the sidewalk and makes his way to the far end at Elliott Ave. Head down Elliott for a block and you will find your first trail sign pointing the way to…
THE BIKE/PED OVERPASS, N47.63220 W122.37603
Up you go. They have hung this on the Galer St. Bridge. It will take you over the rail lines and deposit you (if you use the sidewalk, not the stairs) at the Terminal 91 Trail at Galer and 16th Ave. Here are some more trail signs.
Notice the rope work design on the walls of the overpass ramp. This is better looking art that some of the stuff over in the Olympic Sculpture Park. Head down the trail with a parking lot to the left and Pier 91 on the right. Ride on down to the point and continue on to Elliott Bay Park and the …
FISHING PIER, N47.62633 W122.37452
If you are not here to fish, the other feature at the pier is a restroom with water. This is the only restroom that the TrailBear found on the trail, so note the location. There may be others tucked in corners. If you find one, send TrailLink a note and update the map. From the fishing pier you have a good view of the grain terminal ahead. Note that the trail splits into a waterfront track and an inside track. Ahead is Myrtle Edwards Park and the …
THE POCKET BEACH, N47.61698 W122.35788
They created this beach out of a pile of rip rap and a failing seawall. The results are a nice little pocket beach and a great boardwalk with views over the Sound. Nice job. The sign explains how they did it. Ahead, at the end of the boardwalk is the trail end and …
THE FATHER AND SON FOUNTAIN, N47.61498 W122.35505
When Der Bear arrived at the end of the trail, here was this guy with no clothes, arms outstretched toward a large fountain of water. Little did he know that the son is hidden in the water. On the hour he will be revealed and dad will be hidden. This means that we have left Myrtle Edwards behind and entered the …
OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK, N47.61596 W122.35572
Here is a nine acre park straddling the rail line. You will need to explore the corners to find all the art. TB liked the Calder “Eagle.” He was not impressed by the grouping of the two washers and old record player. (It’s a joke, right?) He has seen this sort of thing done much better in front of many trailers in rural Washington, including some very vigorous folk art arrangements of tires and cars.
For a map and interactive tour of the park, check out this site…
Now you can retrace your ride up to Terminal 91. If you want a loop ride, go the opposite direction – along the rail yards or over the Magnolia Bridge.
If you want more, there is a bit of the Burke Gilman Trail from the locks to Golden Gardens to the north, along with the Ship Canal Path on the south bank and the rest of the Burke Gilman on the opposite shore. You could make a day’s outing with these three trails. Be sure to stop off in Fremont and have your picture taken with Vladimir Illich Ulyanov, o.k.a Lenin. It’s just three blocks up from the trail.
Improving his mind at the sculpture park