Washington Park Arboretum


Day Hike - Foster & Marsh Islands

Night hike through the Washington Park Arboretum to the glory of spring with a trip to Foster and Marsh Islands on this 4.3 mile loop.

  • Easy
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 4.4 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 400 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 177 ft
  • Pace: 2.0 mph

We'll meet shortly before 6pm outside the Graham Visitors Center where there are restrooms.  Additional park can be found along Foster Island Road and other roads abutting the arboretum.  By bus, Metro 11, 43 and 980 (very limited service).


Mountaineers guidebook author Craig Romano reports, "A 230-acre emerald wedge of native forest and ornamental gardens, the Washington park Arboretum offers some of the most aesthetically pleasing paths in the city.  From islands on lake Washington to a small ridge, amble...on miles of well-tended trails through acres of well-tended flora.  Come in the spring for gorgeous blossoms and in autumn for stunning foliage.  And come year-round for peaceful wandering (Urban Trails Seattle, 2018, #13).

The Arboretum was established in 1934 and initially developed by the WPA. The park is a natural learning laboratory for University of Washington urban horticulture and landscape architecture students.  We add the Arboretum Waterfront Trail  to take in Foster & Marsh Islands over boardwalks and floating bridges.   Our feet may find some damp (hopefully not flooded) sections.  Your trip leader will test walk the route in advance.


Washington Park Arboretum

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun protection
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination
  5. First aid supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair kit and tools, including knife
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter
Trip Reports