A Drive to Washington Park Arboretum

Sometimes there’s a drive and sometimes there’s a destination and sometimes you’re lucky to enjoy both as I did yesterday.  My destination was the Washington Park Arboretum and  I took the scenic route to get there,  Lake Washington Boulevard.

Lake Washington Boulevard

Lake Washington Boulevard was conceived under the master plan created for the City of Seattle by the Olmsted Brothers in 1903.  The comprehensive plan included a network of diverse parks throughout the City including Seward Park, Volunteer Park, Green Lake, Washington Park, and others, along with a scenic boulevard connecting them. This eight mile boulevard runs along the shores of Lake Washington from Seward Park in the south to Washington Park Arboretum in the north.  Small parks line the lakeshore and pedestrians stroll or ride bicycles on the walking path. The pace is relaxed and the views are wonderful.

Washington Park Arboretum

After the pleasant drive along the lake and through lovely neighborhoods of old Seattle, I arrived at the Arboretum where I picked up a map at the Graham Visitors Center.

It was Azalea Way I was after, a  3/4 mile path through the heart of the Park lined with flowering cherries, azaleas and dogwoods.

All was colorful along the path with lots of pinks and reds on display. But I love the yellow and orange azaleas the best and their sweet honeysuckle fragrance.

I stopped by the Woodland Garden and enjoyed the peaceful ponds and collection of Japanese Maples.  The rockwork was laid out in 1938 making it one of the oldest parts of the Arboretum.

I joined the Arboretum Loop trail back to the Visitors Center and passed by Rhododendron Glen where hundreds of rhododendrons were in bloom along with companion plants.

I peeked into mysterious Loderi Valley, where giant leaved rhododendrons and magnolia trees create a unique canopy.

I didn’t have time to enter the formal Japanese Garden, the only part of the Arboretum with an entrance fee, nor to walk over to Foster Island. But I did make it to Duck Bay earlier this winter when the skies were blue and the air was frigid and was reminded how close I was to civilization, and Husky Stadium.

These will have to wait for my next visit to the Arboretum. I returned to my car and headed south.  The GPS lady urged me to go west to I-5 but I ignored her and traveled home in peace along beautiful Lake Washington Boulevard.

~ Susanne

P.S.   The Washington Park Arboretum is jointly owned and operated by the City of Seattle and the University of Washington.  It’s a wonderful legacy from our City forefathers who retained the premier landscape architects of their day, the Olmsted Brothers.

12 Comments on “A Drive to Washington Park Arboretum

  1. Beautiful trees and shrubs, and you picture them very well too. A great place to have near your home, and the road you used to get there does have a lovely peaceful outlook.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks Pete. The Arboretum is a treasure in Seattle that I only rediscovered again recently. A great place to visit all times of the year and wonderful trails to walk. I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. 🙂

  2. The blossom looks beautiful! I do love spring!

    When I was still living in England, there was a park that my father took me to one year to see the azaleas. Like you, I liked the orange and yellow ones best – and you got some super photos of them. I love the shapes made by the branches in some of your shots, too. That third photo of the maples in the woodland garden is lovely with the pale green behind the russet of the foreground. It almost glows 🙂 You’ve really captured its beauty 🙂

    • Oh thank you so much! It’s such a wonderful place and I so enjoyed walking the trails among all that beauty! 🙂

  3. Wow! What a beautiful place. I could feel the peace in your photos all the ways over here.

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