Take a Hike

2020 Hikes

Our Thursday walks and guided summer hikes have been temporarily suspended during the coronovirus outbreak, but we are offering two virtual hikes instead.

Native Plants

Click here to walk with Steve Richmond, master of native plants and forest restoration, in a series of videos as he identifies both native and non-native plants and how they interact.  Steve’s walk begins at the trailhead at S.W. Holly Street and 14th Ave. S.W.  After viewing his videos, you may explore for yourself on good trails built by Seattle Parks and volunteer groups.

Walking Native Land

In both 2018 and 2019, Ken Workman, the great-great-great-great grandson of Chief Seattle, led walks on native land in the woods where he played as a boy.  Click here to walk with Ken on a short trail leaving from S.W. Dawson St. and 19th Ave. S.W. as he talks about the Duwamish heritage in the land.

Thursday Walks

Walk every Thursday when South Seattle College is in session with WDGT volunteers, including college faculty and staff, who lead a 45-minute hike through different portions of the greenbelt each week. Meet at the South Seattle College tennis courts located in the southeast portion of campus at noon. The length and direction of each hike depends on the wishes of  the hikers.  Guided hikes have been temporarily suspended during the coronovirus outbreak until the college is back in session.  

First Saturday Hikes

The 2019 season featured seven Saturday walks in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, the largest urban forest in Seattle.  See descriptions below.  The WDGT group deeply appreciates all those who contributed their time and passion to lead hikes this season; the West Duwamish Greenbelt is a busy place!

2019 Hikes:


Mushroom:  On October 5th a small gaggle emerged at 14th and Holly for the final Saturday hike of the season. Fungi had formed up around the West Duwamish Greenbelt trails for our mushroom-themed walk. Many mushrooms stuck to their more subtle, camouflaged Fall colors and low profile while the iconic red and orange Amanitas (the “Mario mushrooms”) stood out like small bright sculptures among the damp coppery brown leaf litter.  The WDGT group was fortunate and grateful to host Kim Traverse to lead an exploration of fungi livelihood. Kim served for four years as the president of the Puget Sound Mycological Society and is a chief organizer for the annual Wild Mushroom Show which occurs this year October 26 & 27 at North Seattle College.

Geology:  September 7  More than 20 hikers joined environmental educator Devin O’Reilly for an exploration of Duwamish Valley geology.  Devin explained glacial movements in West Seattle, soil and rock types, river pathways in south Seattle and Renton, and the likely presence of a glacial erratic in the greenbelt.

Land Use History: August 3  Hikers explored the land use history of the West Duwamish Greenbelt with urban forester Paul West.  They learned how 500 acres were acquired and how sand and gravel operations, kiln dust contamination, and plans for a freeway have threatened the sustainability of the greenbelt.

Native Plants:  July 6  Steve Richmond, an expert in controlling invasive plants and restoring native plant communities, instructed 15 walkers on plant identification and descriptions in the greenbelt.


Native plant hike with Steve


Native Land:  June 1

More than 75 people of all ages walked native land from ridge to river on National Trails Day in the West Duwamish Greenbelt.  Ken Workman, a descendant of Chief Seattle, described his personal experience growing up on Puget Ridge and the Duwamish experience of the land on the ridge and along the Duwamish River. The hike left South Seattle College and followed an unimproved trail down to the Duwamish Longhouse on West Marginal Way and back up. Hikers had to walk the parking strip along the busy truck-way because sidewalks are intermittent there. The hike, sponsored by the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails group, highlighted the vision of a ridge to river trail, connecting landscapes nurturing human life for thousands of years.Ridge to River

Insect Discovery: May 4

Thirty-five to forty walkers of all ages joined guest leader Amber Chiozza of Scarabs: the Bug Society, on an insect discovery walk.  Amber is an artist/printmaker, art conservator, educator and naturalist with a passion for insects, especially bees & wasps.  The walkers included a contingent of first grade enthusiasts from the West Seattle Nature Girls. All the children were provided inexpensive magnifying boxes with which to inspect and release live insect specimens. Pigeon Point Park proved to be the most fitting venue again because of its diverse, sprawling landscape that includes open grassy areas and wooded wetland.

After a short introduction, the group headed to the open areas near the Pathfinder School entrance and spent the remaining time searching grass, lifting rocks and scanning the flowers and bushes. Amber roamed around with a gaggle of children illuminating insect specimens. The group briefly detained a bumble bee just in time to compare it to a fly that looks like a bee; mimicry in nature is not uncommon. Best comment, from a first grader, overheard as we headed back to the trailhead:  “That was beautiful.  I thought it would be boring.”

See Amber’s exhibit “Crevice & Comb, The diversity and dwellings of wasps and bees”  at the CORE Gallery, 117 Prefontaine Pl. S. Meet at the Pigeon Point Park trailhead, 4714 21st Ave. S.W.


Birds of all Kinds, April 6

Expert birder Scott Markowitz from the Tahoma Audubon led a bird hike in Pigeon Point Park. The hike began at 10:00 am at the very moment that the sun broke the rainy weather that had been projected. The group of about 18 participants watched a hummingbird perform a territorial “J-dive” dance, analyzed song sparrow calls, inspected the mossy nest of a bushtit and watched a sharp-shinned hawk out-maneuver angry crows- just to list highlights. The known owl resident was not present, but the group found a pellet beneath its tree and discovered skeletons of small animals on which the owl had snacked.


2018 Hikes

Transportation History

History hikeSouth Seattle College librarian Randy Nelson led a group on a history hike, describing the streetcar line that ran through the Greenbelt, the sand and gravel operations that left an old road, and the proposal for a Soundway through the greenbelt.

Cultural History

In August 2018 70 of us hiked a Puget Park trail following Puget Creek with Ken Workman 4th generation-great grandson of Chief Seattle.  Ken talked about growing up in this neighborhood, finding quiet and an escape from the city in the woods, and about the continuing presence of Duwamish ancestors in the very soil and trees of the greenbelt.

West Duwamish Greenbelt

Come Back to Your Senses, a one-hour mindfulness walk led by Andrea D’Asaro of Awaken to Mindfulness and Ken Workman.

Andrea began guiding the group with mindful breathing practice and continued with slow and then faster walking to wake up the senses and calm restless minds. They paused along the way to observe each sense perception and experience the wisdom of the forest with fresh eyes.

Ken spoke about the connection between Native culture and mindfulness and cultivating a deep connection with the earth.

National Trails Day

For the second year in a row, along with the Nature Consortium, we participated in National Trails Day, June 2, 2018, offering guided hikes in the West Duwamish Greenbelt.



Restoration Work Projects

There is always work to be done restoring urban forest and maintaining trails. Here’s what’s currently happening and how you can get involved.

An unusual project to uncover the sidewalk on the north side of Highland Park Way has created a new connection between the end of a hike through the greenbelt to Highland Park Way and the intersection with West Marginal Way.  See this short video about the project.

Pigeon Point is located on the furthermost northern end of the greenbelt, overlooking Elliot Bay and the mouth of the Duwamish River. Over the past 10 years, Nature Consortium now part of Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, has brought volunteers and community members together to help restore habitat by removing invasive weeds, amending soil, addressing erosion issues, and planting new native trees and shrubs.

Puget Park is just south of Pigeon Point Park. The Seattle Parks Department along with community volunteers have been working on improving the trail. They have been removing invasives, planting natives, regrading and resurfacing the trail. The entire 1.2 mile horseshoe shaped trail should be completely restored by the end of 2019. If you haven’t been to Puget Park lately, go check out the progress being made or at least check out this before and after photo: https://twitter.com/SeattleParks/status/843259499175723008

Westcrest Park is located on the furthermost southern end of the greenbelt. DIRT Corps is revitalizing the southwest portion of Westcrest Park. The first step is to remove invasive species followed by planting events. The volunteer restoration events will include a brief weed ID education class to learn about the different types of invasive weeds, why they are harmful, and how to get rid of them. Learn how to join an upcoming Dirt Corp volunteer restoration event here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/theDIRTcorps/events/

The Green Seattle Partnership conducted a restoration project on roughly 40 acres in West Duwamish Greenbelt on the hillside between South Seattle College and West Marginal Way. A thinning and gap enhancement operation occurred from mid-August through mid-October 2017. Native planting by Garden Cycles was completed in March 2018. Professional crews thinned red alder and big leaf maple to create small gaps in the canopy to allow more light to the forest understory where young conifers await favorable light conditions. The cut down timber was left in place as nurse logs or snags, and  habitat piles were built with the slash material. Weeding and major replanting of tree seedlings was conducted over the 24 thinned acres as well as on an additional adjacent 16 acres. With more light and planting of 10,000 native tree/shrub seedlings, this effort will nudge this forest on a healthy and resilient path. The Applied Ecology crew will continue invasive removal and maintenance weeding over 100 acres of the greenbelt as well as monitoring seedling survival.

If you are walking through this area, be mindful on windy days.  With less density, trees are not buffered from the high winds. Learn more about this project at: http://www.greenseattle.org/letting-light-shine/.

Since 2003, the Nature Consortium’s Urban Forest Restoration Program has been conducting forest restoration in the West Duwamish Greenbelt. Along with volunteers and community groups they have been removing invasive, planting natives, and controlling erosion. There are three Nature Consortium restoration sites in the greenbelt at Pigeon Point Park, north of Riverview Playfield, and north of the Seattle Chinese garden. Nature Consortium is now part of the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association; check out that website to sign up to volunteer.

Community Connections

Ridge to River Trail

The West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails group is excited to partner with Duwamish Tribal Services and other community groups to determine the feasibility of a trail from the top of Puget Ridge, Pathfinder School, and South Seattle College to the Duwamish Longhouse and Duwamish Waterway at T-107 Park.  We will keep you informed as this study progresses.

R2R Announcement 06082020


Steering Committee

Steering Committee meetings are usually held the 2nd Tuesday of the month. All are welcome to attend.

Next Steering Committee Meeting is Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at 7 p.m. either by Zoom (email us to be included) or in the community room at Puget Ridge Cohousing, 7020 18th Ave SW.