The Evergreen State may not have a reputation for fall foliage displays, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great places to see the seasons change in vibrant color. Even if you can’t make the trek to the mountains to see the famed alpine larch, check out these three Lake Washington spots for a stroll in nature while the air is crisp and the leaves are crunchy.
Washington Park Arboretum
Home to the Seattle Japanese Garden, Washington Park Arboretum hugs the shore of the lake, with 200 acres featuring walking trails along the water, and the chance to see the bright yellow larch, a deciduous conifer, without leaving the city. The formal Japanese garden houses brilliant Japanese maples that turn fiery colors as the days get cooler. Talk to a botanist at the visitor center to learn about all the native species in the arboretum.
On waterfront trails along the lake at Seward Park, old-growth evergreens mingle with deciduous leaf-droppers along the shoreline, carpeting paths in bright-colored crunch. Eagle nests in the area increase the chance of spying the majestic feathered creatures, with other species of wild birds to spot nesting nearby. A two mile paved bike and walking trail runs along the shore, with miles of hiking trails meandering through the park. Stroll through the trees and soak up a little last summer sunshine.
Mercer Slough Nature Park
Over on the Bellevue side, trails in Mercer Slough serpentine through marshes in the biggest stretch of wetland on Lake Washington, looping past blueberry fields filled with autumnal colors as the bushes change to vibrant red. Spot Blue Herons and spooky spider webs laden with dewdrops as you walk along on the park’s seven miles of trails. Visit on a misty morning to enjoy the hazy fog hanging over the top of the water, lingering below the vibrant leaves.