Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Hiking Guide Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop

Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop

Puget Sound and Islands

Location

Puget Sound and Islands -- Seattle-Tacoma Area
View map below

Length

6.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Rating

3.67 out of 5

(6 votes) Log in to rate
 
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

Named for a Duwamish chief who led a village on Lake Union, this six-mile, mostly-paved urban loop connects pocket parks and multi-use paths around Lake Union in Seattle. If you don't stop for a bite to eat in one of the neighborhoods along the way, Gas Works Park (on the north side of the loop) and Lake Union Park (on the south side) both make great picnic spots with lake views.

There are multiple access points for the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop, but the most convenient parking is to be found at Gas Works Park at the north end of Lake Union, between the neighborhoods of Fremont and Wallingford.


Starting here, head east along a gravel path that parallels North Pacific Street, before bearing left onto the Burke Gilman Trail. This parallels NE Pacific Street and crosses under the I-5 bridge along NE 40th before crossing the Lake Washington bridge just south of the U-District. The bridge is a great spot to stop and watch boat traffic, or get photos of the bridge itself -- it's quite photogenic.

Once you're across the bridge, make a right and head down towards the lake. You'll pass South Passage Point Park, one of the many pocket parks along this route. Despite being right under I-5, this secret spot makes for a nice place to sit and take in this corner of the lake before continuing on.

The next section of the route winds its way through neighborhoods and business districts in Eastlake. Fortunately, the path is very well-signed, just keep an eye out for red directional signposts topped with arrows marked "Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop" pointing the way. The trail is for public use, but remember that you're passing private property; please be respectful of the folks who call this place home.

From the neighborhoods and businesses of Eastlake, round the south end of the lake by taking Valley Street, then ducking into Lake Union Park. Here you're a little more than halfway done. The Museum of History and Industry provides a great distraction here, and some places to sit and contemplate the lake are available. However, this section of the loop is also quite close to the "Mercer Mess", a section of road in Seattle that nearly always has lots of traffic. You're probably better off continuing on in search of quiet.

Once you've followed the trail around the southern tip of the lake, you'll be paralleling Westlake Avenue, a business district. What it lacks in pocket parks, this section of the trail makes up for in street ends that provide overlooks, including the Galer Street End near the large pedestrian bridge roughly a third of a mile from the end of the lake, as well as Blaine, Crockett, and McGraw street ends, in order from south to north.

Follow Westlake Avenue all the way to an intersection with Fremont Ave and Nickerson, where the trail crosses the Fremont Bridge. This funky blue and orange bridge is the gateway to the self-professed "Center of the Universe" neighborhood. Once you've crossed the bridge, you've got about a mile left.

Turn right off the bridge. After one block you'll pass under Highway 99. A two-block, uphill detour here on Troll Avenue will take you to one of Seattle's iconic destinations, the Fremont Troll. He's worth a visit if you're in the neighborhood! Back on the Cheshiahud Loop, rejoin the Burke Gilman Trail, passing the Fremont Brewery on the left and some peek-a-boo views of Lake Union on the right.

The last leg of the trail dips back to parallel N Northlake Way, depositing you right back in the same parking lot you departed from.

WTA Pro Tip: Just across from Gas Works Park are the Wallingford Steps, south of the end of Wallingford Avenue (between Densmore and Burke Avenue). More an art installation than a park, the mosaic here is always worth a stop after your walk around Lake Union.

 

Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.6460, -122.3362 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Puget Sound and Islands -- Seattle-Tacoma Area

City of Seattle

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

More info at Seattle Parks and Recreation: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/lakeunionloop/

http://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/hiking-and-trails

Getting There

There are multiple access point for the loop, including one near the Museum of History and Industry at 860 Terry Ave North. This trail description begins from Gas Works Park, between the Fremont and Wallingford neighborhoods.

take transit

This trailhead is accessible by bus! Plan your visit by bus using TOTAGO, or consult the schedule for King County Metro route number 31/32.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop

42 Trip Reports

Hiked here recently?

Submit a trip report!
 
Trip Reports