Longfellow Creek Trail
Explore the Watershed of Longfellow Creek from Start to End
Hike Length: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 0’
Hike Difficulty: Easy ( Moderate with Camp Long hike)
Map: King County Thomas Guide or Seattle street map
For most of the city’s history, Seattle in-city creeks have been treated as land-wasting nuisances. Their usual fate was to be buried and sent into storm drains, never to see the light of day again. One fine exception is Longfellow Creek in West Seattle, which still runs free for much of its four mile length. The recently created Longfellow Creek Heritage Trail celebrates this restored urban stream, following its course from the headwater marsh in Roxhill Park to its end near Elliot Bay. The trail provides a rather diverse urban walking experience, using sidewalks, playfields, a shopping center, city parks, and wildland greenbelts as part of its route. Nearby Camp Long, a 70 acre wilderness park with an extensive network of trails , makes an enjoyable side trip if you need more of a workout.
Dragonfly Pavilion at the end of the Longfellow Creek trail
From downtown Seattle, ride Metro Bus 21 to SW Roxbury Street and 28th Ave SW.
From the bus stop, walk right into Roxhill Park. Look for the start of The Longfellow Trail in the middle of the park. Nearby, the trail passes through a lovely, newly-restored wetland, the headwaters of Longfellow Creek. Look for the abundant brown posts that mark the route of the trail.
Once out of the park, the creek disappears underground for quite a distance and the trail offers a mostly urban walking experience. Heading north, the Longfellow Trail travels through the Westwood Shopping Center and playfields around the Southwest Community Center. After a quick jog east on Thistle St, the trail visits a small park with a garden and a brief portion of daylighted creek. Then it’s back to pounding the pavement as the trail circles the West Ridge apartment complex. You hike on busy Delridge Way for a block, then go left onto Kenyon. A bridge on Kenyon Street offers a peek at the elusive stream.
After heading north on 24th Ave, the trail reaches the Webster Retention Basin, a grassy bowl that absorbs floodwaters. Next ensues a noisy and boring stretch of trail on Dellridge Way. This bit of unpleasantness continues to Myrtle St., where the trail jogs west and follows some quiet residential streets. Then the trail gets even better as it heads through extensive greenbelts along the free-flowing stream. Houses are usually visible in the greenbelts, but the setting is woodsy and pleasant. Beavers are active on this part of the stream and have constructed dams.
At Brandon St you can make a short side trip to Camp Long, actually a Seattle city park. To get there, walk the street westbound, passing the edge of a golf course, then enter the park through a signed, gated entrance. The 70 acre park features a network of trails that explore its lushly forested wilderness. At the west edge of the park is a nature center, climbing rock, and rustic cabins that you can rent for overnight stays. Camp Long is named after Judge William Long, who helped to create the camp in 1937 for the use of Scouting organizations. The camp was opened to the public in 1984.
The Longfellow Creek Trail continues past Brandon St, heading through Greg Davis Park and onto a long stretch of sidewalk on 26th Ave. At the north end of 26th, the trail passes by the Delridge Playfield, with lawns and restrooms. The trail jogs briefly west on Genesee St, then heads into a lushly vegetated gulch carved by Longfellow Creek. The creek is crossed at Fish Bridge, a uniquely sculpted structure shaped like a fish’s ribcage. A final winding path takes you to trail’s end at the Dragonfly Pavilion.
From the Dragonfly Pavilion, walk streets west to Avalon Way and catch a northbound Metro 21 bus. Or walk to Delridge and ride Metro 120.