The Hiker Mama

Schmitz Preserve

Distance: The main loop is about 1.3 miles, but there are 1.7 miles of trails in the park, including spurs

Elevation Gain: 116 feet to 220 feet, depending on spurs taken

Season: Year-round

Maps: Find a PDF trail map here, or visit Walking In Seattle for a map and trail directions.

Description: This historical preserve has set aside a large tract of mostly unlogged original forest. Schmitz Preserve Creek burbles sweetly through the ravine, which you can walk along as you make a loop up and back. Children will find places to play in the creek, and will enjoy rock-hopping where the path crosses the water. Native forest plants fill the understory, and giant cedars and firs shade the trails. Boardwalks allow passage through swampy areas, but you’ll want to wear shoes that can get muddy for areas where water seeps onto the trail from the hillside. Skunk cabbage, ferns, nettles, salal and salmonberry create a variety of textures to explore. This is truly a gem of a park, allowing for a respite from the grind of the city. There are no restrooms or other amenities at Schmitz Preserve; visit nearby Whale Tail Park for restrooms and an imaginative playground.

Directions: From I-5, take the exit for the West Seattle Bridge, and head west. Exit on Admiral Way, and follow that road as it curves around, heads up the hill, through the commercial district and down the hill again. Look for the entrance to the park at SW Stevens St. on the left. There is ample parking along Admiral Way. Older maps and guidebooks will show the entrance road open to cars, but that has been closed. No passes needed.

Links: Read the Seattle Parks description, or the WTA trail account.