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More Training Info > St. Edward State Park

Family-Friendly Outings - St. Edward State Park
By Courtenay Schurman, MS, CSCS September 2007

On a tip from a friend we headed to Saint Edward State Park (see http://www.parks.wa.gov/parkpage.asp?selectedpark=Saint%20Edward for more information) in Kenmore not once but twice to try different trails. SESP is the largest remaining undeveloped area on the east side of Lake Washington. We had been looking for family-friendly nature trails our 3-year-old would enjoy that did not require a half day or more to explore. We were pleasantly surprised by their hiking trails, picnic areas and roomy, varied big toy playground that had separate areas for toddlers and older children.


Our first visit, we went as a family (minus dog). After letting B. play in the sandbox and playground we headed for one of the hiking signage boards that steered us in the direction of Grotto, a �most difficult� (i.e. steep) .4 mile segment down a ravine where we counted slugs crossing the path. We were surprised at how remote the park felt, especially in the ravine away from highway noise. I held tight to B�s hand so she would not slip on the dry, steeper portions of the trail, although she had one misstep that resulted in a scraped knee. Once we reached the beach, we enjoyed picking blackberries, throwing stones and squirting water into the lake, watching motorboats, and having a picnic. We returned to the top via the .62 mile Seminary path, completing a comfortable one mile loop that posed no further problems for B. All the trails leading down to Lake Washington are classified either as more or most difficult, although there are several easy to moderate trails around the Perimeter for anyone wanting a level nature walk.


B. and I decided to return with an older friend of hers and her mom, a friend of mine. This time our goal was to link several trails together for a 2-3 mile nature walk. We discovered you can easily loop several hilly paths together into a comfortable nature hike, mountain bike trip or trail run. This time we started down the North Trail (.6 miles), walked along the beach trail (.4 miles) with a stop at a private �beach� where the girls collected shells and waded in swim suit and diaper, balancing on a large log that marked off the boundary of the wading area. After a brief snack and some time playing �hide and seek� in an enormous, still-growing through hollowed out tree trunk we unanimously chose the steep South Ridge (.6 mi.) back up toward Bastyr University. We all agreed with the lady that passed with her dog that �this part felt like real hiking.� Somehow we came out at a water tower and had to loop through the newer area of Bastyr University, picking blackberries along the way, in order to regain the State Park and children�s playground. Total distance: at least 2.5 miles. Of particular interest for younger children: splashing in the lake, exploring trees, scrambling up steeper slopes, picking berries, and playing on a great playground developed as recently as 2003.


From I-5, take exit 175 (145th Street) and travel east to Bothell Way. Turn left (north) on Bothell Way and drive 3 miles around the top of Lake Washington. Turn right on 68th Avenue (which becomes Juanita Drive at Simonds Road) and continue south 1.5 miles. Look for the brown sign pointing to the park entrance on the right, the same entry as Leadership Institute of Seattle (LIOS) and Bastyr University.

B. pilots the plane with Court as passenger in the back seat.

B and Doug enjoy a lakeside picnic.

Brooke (3) and Sydney (4) excited about their upcoming hike

B. races ahead toward the lake�s edge to find a good wading area

B. looks over the edge of a bridge as Sydney and Joanne cross behind her.

time out to wade in the lake; Sydney and Brooke explore a large log over the water

Joanne, Sydney and Brooke explore a hollowed out tree log

toward the top of South Ridge, this picture shows the forested, shaded nature of most of the trails on Saint Edward State Park property. Great on a hot day.

Photo of the swings, climbing wall and rustic wooden structures in the playground built 2003.


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