Mi Kwa Mooks Loop

The Mi Kwa Mooks Loop is a 4 mile route that samples two fine parks in West Seattle, Schmitz Park and Mi Kwa Mooks Park. In addition it follows a long and scenic section of the West Seattle waterfront.

Updated 1/9/2018

Getting There:

From Downtown Seattle, Ride the Rapid Ride C to Alaska Junction. Transfer to the Metro 50 and ride to the Alki Beach waterfront.

The scenic alternative approach is to ride the West Seattle Water Taxi from the downtown waterfront to West Seattle, then walk the waterfront trail to Alki Beach. This option adds three miles to the overall walking distance.

The Walk:

From the bus stop on Alki Ave., walk over to the waterfront promenade, turn left and head west. When the promenade ends, continue west on Alki Avenue's sidewalk. The avenue eventually rounds Alki Point, passing a lighthouse (not usually open to the public), then reaches the waterfront on the south side of the point. Continue walking atop the sea wall alongside Beach Drive. This area is called Constellation Park and offers broad and breezy vistas over the south Puget Sound.

The park ends where 63rd Ave meets Beach Drive. Continue walking south on Beach Drive, here on a sidewalk. Condos separate you from the water here, but occasional parks allow access to beaches. After a mile, you leave the developed waterfront and reach Mi Kwa Mooks Park, a scenic vista point overlooking the Sound. "Mi Kwa Mooks" means "Shaped like a Bear" in the local indian language, and was their term for Alki Point.

Inland of Beach Drive is a lawn with picnic tables. Walk across the lawn to a display sign, which describes the turbulent geology of the area. The West Seattle Fault comes ashore here, and a massive earthquake 300 years ago caused the steep slope above the park to landslide. At the sign, follow a trail, initially well-built, that makes a climbing traverse up the hillside. After a bit, the trail makes a switchback and starts heading south. Where the trail starts leveling out, Note a side trail (no sign) branching left up the hill. Ignore this trail (which just dead ends on the bluff) and continue on the "main" route, which now follows a level, southbound traverse on the hillside (even descending a bit). Soon you will see a second trail branching up the hill, which you want to follow. The trail branch that continues traversing south from this point is supposedly nice (I haven't followed it) and eventually reaches Jacobsen Road, which is an alternative ascent route up the hillside.

You will know you are on the right trail when you come upon a big tree with a rustic wood sign that says "keep up". Beyond this point, the trail becomes very steep as it ascends the bluff all the way up to 55 Ave SW. This ascent could be challenging when the trail is wet and muddy. The trail tops out abruptly at the street end, and while you catch your breath, be sure to enjoy the wonderful vista atop the bluff.

From here, work your way north and east on the grid of streets (pleasant waking in an upscale suburban neighborhood) until you reach 51st Ave and Charlestown St. Walk north on 51st Ave to the edge of Schmitz Park. You get a glimpse of its shadowy, forested interior but there is no trail here. The road bends east to become Spokane Street. Walk around the perimeter of Schmitz Elementary School until you reach Hinds Street, which descends west to the edge of Schmitz Park and a trail head.

Here, dive into Schmitz Park, which is one of only two places in Seattle that preserves the original, ancient forest (the other site is Seward Park) that used to cover the land here. Some of the old trees in the park are huge! Follow the trail that descends along the park's main creek. Of course, if you have time and energy, feel free to follow some of the side trails. Eventually you will reach a paved drive, now closed to traffic. Walk the drive downhill, which takes you underneath the huge Admiral Street Bridge and on down to a park next to the Alki Community Center. At this point you are very close to Alki Beach, where you can celebrate the completion of the loop hike at one of the many coffee shops and cafes near the beach.

Getting Back:

Metro 50 and Rapid Ride C or the Water Taxi will take you back to Downtown Seattle.