How embarrassing! I’ve lived on Capitol Hill in Seattle for five years now, and only this past weekend discovered the trailhead for Interlaken Park, a 51-acre chunk of forest in the middle of a very urban neighborhood. Normally when Chloe and I reach the five-way intersection at Galer and 19th Avenue E., we head east to walk past the beautiful homes between 19th and 23rd. Last Friday, though, we turned north instead, and found a bit of dog heaven. The trails are steep (a friend who works at the nearby Volunteer Park Café advised us to “go down, not up” — which, sadly, isn’t possible), but they’re well-maintained, and lots of flagged seedlings and other plants demonstrate that the park is being carefully restored and tended. I haven’t found a good trail map yet, but as you’ll see when you look at the street map, the park isn’t big enough to get lost in.
Leashed dogs are welcome (be sure to bring your own poop bags). You’ll encounter lots of off-leash dogs and their owners too; so far all of the dogs we’ve met have been well-behaved and civil.
Our next adventure, when I’m feeling extra-fit, will be to walk from Interlaken Park to the Arboretum, which also welcomes leashed dogs (though not in the Japanese Garden). The most attractive way to go would be along East Interlaken Boulevard, another link in the necklace of parks and boulevards crafted by the Olmsted Brothers at the beginning of the last century, but I don’t think Interlaken has any sidewalks. Boyer Avenue E. does, but perhaps not east of 24th. I’ll check it out and report back to you. [2/15/11 I’ve checked now, and Boyer Avenue E. does have sidewalks east of 24th — so that’s the way I’d suggest you head east to the Arboretum, once you make your way to the northeast corner of Interlaken Park, which is pretty much at the corner of Boyer and 24th.]