Seattle has some special urban parks and one of our very favorites is Foster Island and the adjacent Arboretum. Despite its close proximity to the 520 bridge, this little slice of marshy land is home to fish, turtles, frogs, and many species of birds.
We like to drive to the old MOHAI parking lot (also called the East Montlake Park) and start our walk from there. You can also approach from the Arboretum side and park in the dirt lot on East Foster Island Road.
This is definitely a fair weather hike and it always helps to come wearing your waterproof wellies, as the trail is soggy, even on the best of days. Major props to the kid that decided to improve the trail with several tons of bark for his eagle scout project - it’s significantly less muddy today than it was six month ago.
Foster Island is a great hike for kids due to the many bridges, docks, and wildlife viewing opportunities. It’s also a nice place to spot baby ducks in the late spring.
We like to bring a picnic and camp out on Foster Island proper; there are a few tables/benches, and plenty of grassy areas near the water. Boats passing through the Montlake Cut will zip by directly off the point. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a front row seat for Husky crew practices.
Our little bobble head baby.
Ben, sitting in his ‘nest'
If You Go: Foster Island Hike
Distance: 1 mile, roundtrip
What to Bring: waterproof boots, lunch
Tips: No restrooms on Foster Island. The condition of the trail depends on the amount of recent rain and the level of Lake Washington.
Another way to access the area: renting a canoe from the UW Waterfront Activities Center (summer months only). Parking in the UW lot is free on Sundays.