With a little bit of beach and a whole lot of beauty, the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop features 6+ miles of stunning views, eclectic neighborhoods, and fabulous dog-friendly stops to grab a bite.
Exploring on foot is a great way to soak in the beauty of Seattle while getting your dog some exercise. With multiple water access points and dog-friendly stops to grab a bite (or a pint), the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop is one of my favorite puppy-filled adventures. The trail’s well-marked with blue signs on red poles. It offers multiple water access points, great for thirsty dogs. And, it takes you through some of Seattle’s most eclectic neighborhoods.
So, grab your leash, lace up your tennis shoes, and get exploring.
Watch Seaplanes Take off and Land from Gas Works Park
South Lake Union’s northern edge is an urban oasis of grassy slopes, eclectic structures, and stunning skyline views. But in the early 1900s, those same grounds were a veritable maze of muddy roads and train tracks. The Seattle Gas Light Company worked around the clock passing steam over superheated coals to produce hydrogen gas. The remnants of their activity can be seen in the rust-colored tanks that have become an iconic Seattle landmark.
The 19-acre public space is ideal for picnics, kite flying, and strolling by the water. It also happens to be a prime location for watching seaplanes take off and land.
(Want to turn your casual walk into an all-day workout? Gas Works Park rests along the Burke-Gilman Trail. The trail runs all the way to Log Boom Park in Kenmore, just minutes from our headquarters.)
Before you hit the park, drop by the Essential Baking Company’s Wallingford Café to snag a pastry and coffee. Though pups can’t go inside the café, they’re more than welcome on the covered patio.
Cross the University District Bridge
Following the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop east, you’ll hop on the Burke Gilman Trail all the way to the University Bridge. The northern edge of the bridge is marked by Peace Park, a small city park best known for its full-size bronze statue of Sadako Sasaki. The statue is frequently covered in paper cranes.
If you’re looking for an upscale stop to grab a bite (and maybe a drink), take N 36th St. down to N Northlake Way. The award-winning Westward is located just a one-minute walk east. The Mediterranean inspired menu is seafood heavy and the restaurant offers outdoor seating, complete with a fire pit and Adirondack chairs.
Street-End Parks and House Boats
At the base of the University Bridge, on the southern side, you’ll find the first public park with water access – South Passage Point Park. Adorned by a weeping willow and a lone picnic table, this little park is a great location for watching boats and letting your dog cool off.
As you continue to follow the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop, you’ll pass a variety of parks and houseboat communities. Fairview Parks is one of the largest of the neighborhood parks. It features a well-maintained community garden.
Of particular note is the Roanoke St. Mini Park, where Boeing launched its first airplane in 1916. The site is marked by a small plaque set within a stone bench. (Learn more about the history of seaplanes on Lake Union.)
Consider also pausing at the Lynn Street Park. This was the first street-end park developed in the city. Street-end parks (aka pocket parks) were first developed by the community to revitalize neglected areas filled with junk.
Another one of my favorite stops along the way is Terry Pettus Park, where a public dock offers an amazing view of the Space Needle. There are frequently a few chairs sitting at the far end of the dock. If you time your visit right, you might even catch a few seaplanes taxiing by.
South Lake Union
At the southern end of Lake Union, you’ll pass Seattle Seaplanes before ducking down to Fairview Walkway that borders the water’s edge. Keep an eye out. A variety of wildlife is often seen, including blue herons.
Following the lake south, you’ll find two of Seattle’s best museums: Center for Wooden Boats and MOHAI. While MOHAI is not dog-friendly, the Center for Wooden Boats is! You can even take your dog out on the water with you if you want to rent a boat.
Meandering past the museums, you’ll find our Lake Union seaplane terminal, where we offer daily scenic flight tours. And….we’re a dog-friendly airline! (If you want to bring your pup, please call in advance. Certain restrictions do apply.)
And, a big shout out to our Lake Union neighbors, Argosy Cruises, who offer sightseeing cruises of Seattle from the water.
Just a block off the trail – before the Fairview Walkway – is Grand Central Bakery’s Eastlake Café. Their scrumptious menu features pastries, sandwiches, and more. Very dog-friendly, there is a plethora of outdoor seating and you’ll often find a water bowl near the front door.
Across the Blue Bridge
With a water clearance of roughly 30 feet, the Fremont Bridge is the most opened drawbridge in the US. A double-leaf bascule bridge, it spans the Fremont Cut, connecting Fremont and Queen Anne. In its earliest days, only trolley cars were permitted to cross. However, as traffic increased, the bridge’s use transitioned into a car and pedestrian passage. In 1985, Fremont’s bohemian community voted to paint the bridge blue – making it an eye-catching site.
Between the Fremont Bridge and your return to Gas Works, you’ll pass the Fremont Brewing Company’s Urban Beer Garden. The large, outdoor patio is dog-friendly. And while the policy is ‘Bring Your Own Food,’ the on-tap selection features both the brewery’s classic pours and its latest seasonal varieties. Not sure what to get? Ask one of the brewers or servers. They’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. In all likelihood, they’ll recommend a taster flight (my personal fav.), as it allows you to sample a variety.
More Seattle Walking Adventures
Seattle’s complicated topography has made our city home to some of the most beautiful urban hikes in the country.
The Lake Union - Kerry Park Loop features big climbs, long descents, and a veritable feast of views. I like to begin this urban trek at Kenmore Air’s Lake Union terminal.