After a busy week of sitting through traffic only to sit at your desk for hours at a time, you might want to think about exercising those legs with a walk, jog or ride on one of the many trails found in the greater Seattle area. Though some can be very popular and busy with bicyclists, runners and skaters, none can come even close to the driving hazards found on our local freeways and highways. See the sights, breathe the fresh air and renew your mind. There are many places where you can travel by foot, but here are five of the best.
Burke Gilman Trail
Golden Gardens Park
8498 Seaview Place NW
Seattle, WA 98117
http://www.seattle.gov/parks

One of Seattle’s busiest paved trails is the Burke Gilman Trail and for good reason. For one, it has become a major thoroughfare for serious bicyclists who use the trail on a daily basis to and from work. One end of trail begins at the Golden Gardens Park which is picturesque with its Olympic Mountain and Puget Sound views. At the other end, you’ll find the 192 Brewing Company (7324 NE 175th St. Ste. F.) in Kenmore which can be used as a fitting “reward” for some who have traveled the length of the whole trail. In-between the two, the trail travels through various neighborhoods, each with its own personality and charm.

Discovery Park
3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
Seattle, WA 98199
(206) 386-4236
http://www.seattle.gov/parks

One of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s gems is Discovery Park, a nature area that stretches for 534 acres in length and was the home of the former Fort Lawton. Here you’ll experience a variety of easy walking trails to choose from with stunning views of the Magnolia Bluff, both Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges, sandy beaches, shaded forest areas and open meadows. The 2.8 mile Loop Trail is easy to find as it weaves itself around the whole park and is fairly flat, so it makes for a great walking trail.

Olympic Sculpture Park
2901 Western Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 654-3100
www.seattleartmuseum.org

Operated by the Seattle Art Museum, the Olympic Sculpture Park is designed to be a walking tour with views of the Seattle waterfront while stopping to look at the various sculptured art planted along the 9-acre trail. There is no charge to walk the trail, and it is open every day from dawn until dusk. The trail extends from the northern Seattle seawall to the southern end of Myrtle Edwards Park. Though there are some hills, the trail is fairly easy to walk with many distractions to stop and look at along the way.

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Green Lake Park
7201 E Green Lake Dr. N.
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 684-4075
www.seattle.gov/parks

You can’t get a much simpler trail to walk, run or ride your bike on than the paved trail that goes completely around the edge of Seattle’s Green Lake. The trail is actually divided up like a two-way street which helps keep everyone safe as different walkers, runners and bikers travel at different speeds. When the crowds are light, it becomes a very tranquil way to travel by foot and enjoy overlooking the water. When the park is at its busiest, it becomes a very social place, so if you prefer a quieter experience, plan on visiting in the earlier morning or late afternoon.

Centennial Trail
Snohomish Trailhead
402 2nd St.
Snohomish, WA 98290
www.centennialtrail.com

Built on top of abandoned rail lines, the Centennial Trail is very popular north of Seattle. The 29-mile trail begins at the Snohomish Trailhead and the other by Nakashima Farm in Arlington. The trail is smooth and flat making it perfect for bike riding and skating. Markers are placed along the route so you can easy see how far you’ve traveled and numerous benches are dotted along the route for resting.

Related: 5 Surprising Mental Benefits Of Exercise

Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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