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The Three Best Seattle-Area Walks for Autumn

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I’ve had a nearly 22-year-long internal debate about what my favorite season is. While all four of them make unique cases for why their weather, their scenery, their atmosphere is superior, I have to say, I’ve decided that autumn, a Washington autumn to be specific, never fails to put me in a warm, nostalgic state of mind. 

Fall activities, of course, are undeniably excitement-inducing, either as a chance to get to enjoy your own company or spend some wholesome time with your loved ones, and undeniably, an overwhelming reason that fall in general is so wonderful is because of its pops of color, red and orange and brown and yellow, that never let the eyes down. There’s a chance you came to UW because of a draw to spend time outdoors in the fine setting of western Washington, and I’m here to confirm that a fall on the east side of the state is one to marvel at, will live in your memory rent-free until it comes around again. If you find yourself too jaded to spend another night at the library or dorm room, while simultaneously finding that you need the space to clear your head outdoors, I’ve got you covered—here are the top three must-try fall walks around UW that are calling your name. 

1. Burke-Gilman Trail—Seattle

Fortunately for us Huskies, among many outdoor activity perks, we happen to have a killer walking trail running straight through our campus. The Burke Gilman, often coolly referred to as “the Burke,” is an 18.8-mile biking and walking trail for all outdoor enthusiasts longing to enjoy a piece of nature within the city, running from the small town of Bothell all the way west to the legendary Golden Gardens Park in Ballard. Get on the Burke with easy access below the north campus dorms, and within no time, you’ll be gaping at the maple trees and their perfectly patchy sky of yellow above you. 

2. Green Lake Park—Seattle 

A Seattle local favorite, Green Lake is a classic paved trail that every Husky has to navigate around before they graduate. From the Ave, hop on bus route 45 and spend an afternoon making your way around the 2.8-mile lakeside trail, leaving yourself the time for many stops to venture down to the water. A crisp but inviting October or November afternoon, during a weekday afternoon when you’ll have the park to yourself for viewing, is the ultimate time to get a good glimpse at the red trees in contrast with the shimmery silver reflection of the lake. Even better, bring your friends and some favorite snacks along and take in the sights by the water. (P.S.-you can make it all the way around the lake in a mere two hours—I believe in you!)

3. Preston-Snoqualmie Trail—Preston 

Perhaps you need a break from the Seattle scene and need to get out of the city for a while, and for that, I offer one of my one of my best-kept secrets I’ve loved for years as a girl from the area. The Preston-Snoqualmie Trail, starting off exit 22 on Interstate 90 in the tightknit community of Preston and satisfyingly ending deep in the woods in Snoqualmie, offers a show-stopping color palette of fall while simultaneously offering unbeatable views of the Snoqualmie Valley and all its glory. Out of its near 12 miles of beauty, I must recommend that you hop on the trail on bike or foot off of Lake Alice Road outside of Fall City and walk East. You can thank me after you’re able to collect your thoughts here, while enjoying the year’s best season.  

Hopefully, you’ll find some time for yourself, before Seattle freezes over and gets dark all too early, to enjoy a one-of-a-kind fall in the outdoors that’s waiting for you. After you try these on a relaxing weekend, treat yourself to a much-deserved pumpkin spice latte and cinnamon roll. 

Hailey Hummel

Washington '23

Hailey is a current senior at the University of Washington, majoring in Public Health—Global Health (with departmental honors), and minoring in Law, Societies, and Justice. She loves hiking, traveling around the state of Washington and the world, making art, playing piano, taking pictures, and spending time with her friends.