Travel magazine

5 wonderful winter walks in the Seattle area

Vintage Pacific NW: We’re revisiting some of our favorite stories from some of our favorite former magazine contributors. Check back weekly for timeless classics focused on diet, fitness, gardening, and more.

Originally posted Feb 6, 2015
By Nicole Tsong, former Fit for Life screenwriter

I TAKE THE lushness of the Pacific Northwest for granted and realize when I travel that not all areas have green, lush foliage all year round. We have many parks and gardens committed to showing the beauty of where we live. Even during the grayest winter months there is plenty of green, pops of color and beauty to be found in the area in the arboretums and botanical gardens.

Combine a visit to these beautiful parks with a brisk walk, an excellent and reliable form of exercise. You can move your legs while gaining new inspirations and ideas for your own landscaping. Or just admire what the master gardeners of our region create, no matter the season.

Head to one of these beautiful gardens (check their websites first, just to be sure), admire the foliage, and enjoy a lovely winter walk.

Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Drive E., Seattle

Beautifully maintained by the University of Washington, the Arboretum is a treasure and one of my favorite places to walk around the city. With 230 acres, there are plenty of trails and nooks and crannies to explore and new sites to see all year round as the gardens change with the seasons. In the winter, bundle up and head to the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden. Flowers such as Chinese witch hazel and Cyclamen coum burst in mid-winter, while dogwoods exhibit red and yellow bark. In the winter garden, you can see plants chosen for their scent and others with beautiful flowering. Or, just take a stroll through the park and appreciate the care and attention given to the maintenance and design of the park.

Bellevue Botanical Garden
12001 Main Street, Bellevue

With 53 acres to explore, the Bellevue Botanical Garden is a charming retreat in the Eastside. The garden has several paths to move your legs while admiring a wide variety of plants and flowers in various themed gardens. The Native Discovery Garden, for example, can inspire you with ideas for incorporating native plants into your landscaping. Or head to the Rhododendron Glen to admire Edgeworthia chrysantha, which blooms in winter.

Kubota Garden
9817 55th Ave. S., Seattle

Tucked away in South Seattle, Kubota Garden is a 20-acre landmark that blends Japanese design with Northwest landscaping. This is the opportunity to head south of the city and explore a garden dotted with alleys, waterfalls and bridges. The garden is a quiet place to stroll and enjoy features such as rock outcrops, ponds, and an abundance of plants and trees.

Evergreen arboretum and gardens
American Legion Memorial Park
145, boulevard Alverson, Everett

Although this is a smaller garden, at 3½ acres, there is still plenty to see at the Evergreen Arboretum, with 10 themed gardens and trails throughout. It is known for its collection of Japanese maples and colorful foliage in spring and fall, and you can also stroll through the Northwest Demonstration Garden year-round for ideas on how to arrange color, texture, flowers and more.

Botanical garden of rhododendron species
2525 S. 336th St., federal route

The Federal Way Garden is home to over 700 species of rhododendrons, which means the plants bloom year round, with hardy rhododendron species starting to bloom in January. With 22 hectares bordered by gravel paths, it is a charming place to walk and learn about rhododendrons. February and March are two of the best months to visit the Rutherford Conservatory to see tropical plants and flowers. The nonprofit garden, located on the Weyerhaeuser campus, updates its website with information about flowers in bloom.

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes