Search for Fall Color and the Ghosts of Seattle

The Hike: UW to Volunteer Park

  • Distance: About 4 miles
  • Transit: Buses 43, 44, 49, 70

Blustery fall days are made for urban hikes.

On a stormy day in Seattle, the SkiZers headed in search of fall color through the University of Washington and the Washington Park Arboretum, eventually a visit Bruce Lee and Doc Maynard at Lake View Cemetery.

The great thing about this hike is that goes from park to park,  spending the majority of your time away from roads and traffic.

Mrs. SkiZer sets the pace through the University of Washington campus.

Start: the UW

Starting from 45th Street and 15 Avenue NE in the U District, we set out across the UW campus. The UW is home to some of Seattle’s oldest trees, and as we headed toward Husky Stadium, we saw some lovely color.

Once past Husky Stadium, we headed south over the Montlake Bridge and hopped onto the the Lake Washington Ship Canal Waterside Trail going east and connecting with the Arboretum Waterside Trail.

Small islands on the Arboretum Waterside Trail are linked by bridges.
A rower makes his way down the Montlake Cut.
Lily pads thrive in the shallow waters near the Washington Park Arboretum.


The waterside trail is excellent. It scoots over two islands, under State Route 520 and then connects with the trails of the Washington Park Arboretum.

Once in the Arboretum, you may never want to leave. We nearly didn’t, getting lost at one point, but that was OK. The Arboretum is a wonderful place to wander.

Eventually, we made our way to East Interlaken Boulevard and headed west.

Visitors walk the trails through the Washington Park Arboretum.
Fall colors are just beginning to peak along the Arboretum trails.

‘Blair Witch’ Woods

After walking past the rich folks’ homes along Interlaken Boulevard, we entered a dark and foreboding woods. We were headed to Lake View Cemetery to pay a visit to some of Seattle’s most famous dead people, and it seemed fitting that we would face a scary test along the way.

Closed? We decided to see.

Off of Interlaken, we came to a trail labeled “Warning: Do not enter.”

Naturally, we went on.

The trail was rough, with downed trees and slippery roots, winding up a steep hill. The SkiZer said, “It looks fine!” to a dubious Mrs. SkiZer. Then he proceeded to wander up the path alone to check things out as it got rougher and darker, leaving a none-too-pleased  Mrs. SkiZer behind.

“F*ck this sh*t!” Mrs. SkiZer was heard to say.

Spooky noises eminated from the trees, a homeless camp appeared, and if this had been a movie, the SkiZers would surely be dead soon. Just in time, they popped out of the woods at 15th Avenue and Garfield, across the street from Lake View Cemetery.

Visiting Doc and Bruce

Seattle’s pioneers are all buried at Lake View Cemetery. So is martial arts movie legend Bruce Lee.

Among the pioneers, David “Doc” Maynard seemed like the guy to see. He had the first cabin at Jackson and First in Pioneer Square. By most accounts, he was a fine fellow, a friend of Chief Sealth and he liked to drink a good deal.

His grave stands under a large cedar tree near the top of the cemetery. We said hello, then visited Bruce, where well-wishers still stop by to leave flowers.

Bruce Lee’s grave at Lake View Cemetery draws crowds daily.
Doc Maynard’s tombstone sits under a large cedar tree.

The finish: Volunteer Park

We were almost done. Our final stop was at Volunteer Park, just south of the cemetery. Entering off of 15th Avenue, we walked to the high point near the Asian Art Museum and took in the view of Seattle. It was a fitting way to finish.

Visitors catch a view of the Space Needle near the Asian Art Museum.

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