Golden Gardens

Located in Ballard on Puget Sound, this popular park offers extraordinary views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The beach is also an excellent departure point for some easy kayaking in Shilshole Bay and destinations beyond.

In the Park

Grab a fire pit and have a cookout or enjoy frisbee, volleyball, or just hanging out on the beach enjoying the views!


Start at Golden Gardens by the Rail Road Tunnel, walk up the path including 272 stairs to Loyal Heights and back (Walk 3 in Seattle Stairway Walks). Or make it a loop by walking along 30th Ave NW, down to Shilshole Bay, and back to Golden Gardens. It's roughly 5 miles round trip with 300 feet of elevation gain.


launch points

Shilshole Bay

Paddle around Shilshole Bay and enjoy the views.

Golden Gardens to Richmond Beach

8.0 nm round trip, difficulty: sea kayak ii+

A pleasant local trip along the shore from Ballard to Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, with a possible stop along the way at Carkeek Park. There is some exposure to winds, but on a calm day, this is a nice relaxing paddle. Currents are very mild. Most of the other boaters will be recreational sailors or fisherman in small boats. There are bathrooms at all three parks along the route. In the winter, there is plenty of free parking at Golden Gardens. In the summer, be sure and get there early to get a good parking spot.

Information For Leaders

Trip Scheduling

Please only schedule one land activity per day and one water activity per day to minimize our impact. Contact our Member Services Team if you have any questions.

  • Suitable Activities: Day Hiking, Sea Kayaking, Urban Adventure
  • Seasons: Year-round
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Sea Kayak II+, Easy
  • Land Manager: Golden Gardens
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 50
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Seattle City Map
  • MapTech Seattle and Lake Washington No. 101
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Golden Gardens Park
  • Golden Gardens Stairways
  • Golden Gardens to Richmond Beach
  • Shilshole Loop
  • Shilshole Bay
  • Golden Gardens to Salmon Bay
  • Golden Gardens to West Point

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.