We are delighted to announce that the Arboretum Loop Trail opened to the public on Friday, November 10—two months ahead of schedule. A lot of planting and some minor construction tasks remain to be done over the fall, winter, and early spring as we prepare the trail for its Grand Opening in April, 2018. (Please mark your calendars and join us for the big event!)
Meanwhile, pedestrian and cyclists are welcome to come and enjoy the new trail! You’ll be able to visit parts of the Arboretum that have been inaccessible for many years during the wet months due to saturated, muddy soils. The new 1.2-mile stretch of trail running along the east side of Lake Washington Boulevard connects to Arboretum Drive to form an all-weather 2.5-mile loop that provides an incredible resource for recreation and relaxation in our city!
Cycling in the Arb: In the Arboretum, cyclists are welcome only on the new Loop Trail and other paved paths. Please observe the 10 mph speed limit and yield to pedestrians. The new portion of the Loop Trail is designed to be unattractive to fast-moving cyclists. Curves that control sightlines, regulatory signage, and other methods will slow bicycle speed. A centerline stripe will help guide all visitors around corners.
Finishing construction: Construction work is ongoing, with many small tasks remaining to be completed along the mile of new trail. Trail users can expect crews along the length of the trail over the coming months. The Birch Parking Lot will remain closed to the public as we continue to move material and equipment.
Upcoming planting: From now through early spring, lots of planting work still needs to take place along the trail to prepare it for the grand opening. In particular this fall, UW Botanic Gardens horticulture staff will be adding new trees, shrubs, and perennials near the south end of the trail, where it intersects the Pacific Connections Garden. In early spring, the UW staff will be installing new plants by the Stone Cottage, where the trail intersects with Arboretum Drive, plus at the north end of the trail, especially in the viburnum and oak collections.
Background & updates: Construction of the Arboretum Loop Trail started on March 28, 2016 and is being funded by mitigation for the SR 520 Bridge rebuild. The new trail will improve visitor access to Seattle’s flagship public garden. Sign up to receive regular project updates and notifications at LoopTrail.seattle.gov.
In the media:
- First Section of Arboretum Loop Trail Opens to Visitors (Parkways, March 23, 2017)
- Washington Park Arboretum’s new trail to reveal hidden treasures (Seattle Times, cover story, May 5, 2016)
- New Trail For Washington Park Arboretum To Mitigate SR-520 Construction (KPLU, April 25, 2016)
- Arboretum trail project underway, will expand public access (UW Daily, March 25, 2016)
Foundation blog updates:
- Making Great Progress (posted 8/10/16)
Bulletin article: For an indepth look at the design of the trail, see our article from the spring 2015 Arboretum Bulletin.