The trails in Warren G. Magnuson Park are frequented and beloved by locals, but are often overlooked by those just passing through Seattle. The Frog Pond Trail is a series of paths that are part of a wetland reconstruction project that seeks to restore parts of the former military base. They feature ducks, ponds, well-maintained gravel, and a welcome stillness within what is normally a chaotic area. Three of these trails, described below, make up the possible outings at Magnuson Park.
First is the Frog Pond Trail, which can be better described as a series of paths linking and looping around ponds in Magnuson Park is a lovely and tranquil place to push a stroller, talk with a friend, or just enjoy the fresh air on a brisk autumn morning.
The Frog Pond trail is accessible from a variety of directions. Entrances can be found at the south entrance of Magnuson Park, off Sand Point Way, the parking lot past the baseball field, or across the street from a beach area found after 65th turns into Lake Shore Drive. Here you can also find the more utilitarian Cross-Park Trail and Lake Shore Promenade. The Frog Pond Trail connects to the path between fields 6, 7 and the baseball field, which are all near the main parking lot.
The network of small trails that make up Frog Pond Trail is roughly two miles, although it is not all connected into one loop. There are little to no elevation changes, due to the area’s past as a paved-over military base.
Due to the high-traffic nature of the park, you will often pass a fellow walker or, if it’s summertime, a group of children from a nearby day camp learning about local wildlife. However, there is a certain respectfulness that is maintained on these trails that is not often found elsewhere. Rowdy teens quiet down as the pass between the trees, councilors remind campers keep their voices low, and friends keep their chatting to a reasonable volume. Biking is prohibited on the gravel trails, but many kids learn to ride a bike for the first time on the paved ones.
Connected to the Frog Pond Trail is the Cross-Park Trail, which sees a steady stream of athletically-inclined teens, but is also a great place to pick blackberries or spot a swallow’s nest inside of the public restroom. As its name implies, the Cross-Park Trail is more utilitarian than Frog Pond Trail. It passes by the sports meadow, off-leash dog area, and the tennis courts, and is often is featured in one of the many 5k runs that are hosted by the park.
Finally, there is the Lake Shore Promenade, a paved path along the water where many kids learn to ride a bike or run along on their way to the beach. Further along the walkway is the Fin Project, an installation of old submarine fins that make up a great place to play hide-and-seek. The promenade also passes by Kite Hill, a grassy knoll that is popular among amateur and professional kite-flyers due to the great views of Lake Washington and frequent strong gusts of wind. At the end of the path, just inside of the NOAA headquarters (although still accessible to the public), there is the Sound Garden, which features twelve steel towers that use the wind to produce varying sounds. Together, Lake Shore Promenade and the Cross-Park trail are about a mile long.