Colman Park May 2010 Lonicera ciliosa
Colman Park May 2010 Lake Washington Boulevard S from the p-patch
Colman Park May 2010 Lysichiton americanum in the muddy pond
Colman Park May 2010 path from the p-patch to 31st Avenue S
I think Colman Park in Seattle is the most beautiful of a string of parks along Lake Washington Boulevard. These parks were created in 1907 (along with the boulevard itself) by Olmsted Brothers, a landscape architecture firm based in Massachusetts. Their father, Frederick Law Olmsted, had designed Central Park in New York City & Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Olmsted Brothers also designed Volunteer Park & Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle. Seattle Parks & Recreation touts their 'Olmsted Legacy.' These parks fill ravines along Lake Washington. From south to north they are Mount Baker Park, Colman Park, Frink Park, Leschi Park & Madrona Park.
Colman Park begins at Lake Washington Boulevard, with parking & benches on the lakeshore. Pass through 2 period tunnels to ascend the ravine, which is densely filled with native plants. Midway, you see Lake Washington Boulevard again as it winds through the park. Here is an expansive lawn that creates a charming & secluded forest glen. There is very little traffic on this bit of the boulevard. Skirt the boulevard, then climb an old staircase to cross beneath the boulevard as it snakes back across the ravine on its serpentine path.
Now you are in the upper section of the park, mostly taken up by the Colman Park P-Patch. Before you climb the terraced gardens, stop to look in the muddy pond, under the trees, in the southeast corner. You could see a frog. This picturesque p-patch is enclosed by trees except for the view down the leafy ravine. Take the steep path, then stairs from the top of the p-patch to 31st Avenue S. This is a steep climb. But it is worth the effort to visit Bradner Gardens Park, at 29th Avenue S & S Grand St, 1 block north, 2 blocks west. Click here to read about more parks along Lake Washington Boulevard.