Fauntleroy Park, in West Seattle, is a few blocks southeast of the Vashon Island Ferry dock. The park offers some impressively tall trees, both conifers and deciduous trees. There is a good system of short trails, with boardwalks, rustic stairs and viewing platforms. Wildflowers are common in spring, and many wild birds make the park their home. The park encompasses the drainage of Fauntleroy Creek that once was a salmon stream, and there currently are efforts to restore the coho run here.
The park and surrounding community are named for nearby Fauntleroy Cove; while the cove, in turn, was named for Ellinor Fauntleroy by her fiance, Lieutenant George Davidson, who took soundings in the cove during an 1857 survey. He also named an Olympic peak (Mount Ellinor) in her honor.
There is no entry fee, and official park hours are daily, 6 a.m. to sunset. There are no trail signs in the park, so you might find it useful to download a park map, with numbered commentary, from the "Self-Guided Nature Walk". The commentaries offer information about landscape features, and the plants and animals you might see here.
You can, if you like, explore the park on your own with map in hand. Or, if you prefer a more structured hike, a suggested route follows.
Head into the park on the obvious trail. Unless you are hiking in winter, the trees and shrubs all will be leafed out and the setting very green. In spring and early summer, be alert for wildflowers such as trillium, fringe cup, youth-on-age, avens, skunk cabbage, miner's lettuce, buttercup, salmonberry, and thimbleberry.
In about 750 feet, come to a trail fork. It's worth checking out the left fork that leads to a boardwalk and platform with views of the surrounding terrain. A social trail may continue on from there, but it's best to return to the main trail, where you turn left and cross a rustic bridge.
At the next trail fork, head left and continue uphill. Admire the tall trees along the way. Farther along, another trail fork to the left leads out to SW Cambridge Street. You can check out this side trail if you like. Then return to the ongoing trail and continue uphill to reach the southern park entrance along SW 97th Street.
When you are ready, head back downhill, rejoin the main trail, and turn left. Continue on, cross a small stream and climb some stairs to reach an overlook.
Farther along, you can explore a short loop trail to the left that goes out to an entrance on Forest Court SW.
Continue on the trail next to the fence and return to the main trail. It leads to a bridge, and out to a parking lot shared by a church and a YMCA. (This large parking lot is posted prominently for their use only - others risk being towed.)
To return to the Barton Street entrance, just follow the sidewalk next to the street uphill for a couple of blocks.