Old Growth Forest in Seattle

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Yes! You can find old growth forest in Seattle! Before white people came to the Pacific Northwest, old growth forests were everywhere (before extensive logging to power steam ships and for building). Today there are very few old growth trees left in Washington State and all are protected and they are unique as special places. Walking among old growth trees is a wonderful activity if you are trying to get outside all year!

In the Pacific Northwest old growth forests are those which are more than 250 years old, have multiple layers of trees, plants and canopy, with dead trees on the ground to nourish the younger trees. The key element of an old growth forest is that it has not been disturbed by human activity (such as logging).

Some of the few remaining old growth trees are protected in the heart of Seattleā€™s Seward Park. You can easily access Seward Park by driving, biking or taking Metro Route 50. Bring this map with you so you can navigate the many trails around the park. The loop trail is paved and goes around the perimeter of the park, but to be immersed in old growth trees, head up one of the trails going into the interior of the park on the north end. If you’re looking for other Seattle parks that are great for exploring, check out my recommendations here.

Andrew's Bay Trail Seward Park Old Growth Forest in Seattle
Andrew’s Bay Trail in Seward Park

In addition to beauty, there are many health benefits associated with being outside in the forest, including reduced stress and even lowered blood pressure.

These are not the oldest trees in Washington, but it is still remarkable to sit by one of the few trees that has not been disturbed by humans in our region.

If you find yourself hooked, and want to see even bigger and older trees, other places to see older trees (600-1000 years old!) include Lewis and Clark State Park south of Olympia, Grove of the Patriarchs in Mt Rainier National Park, and the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park.

Close up view of old growth douglas fir tree, knotty and nobby thick brown bark
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Jennie Flaming
Jennie Thwing Flaming, Chief Adventure Officer: Jennie's life has been a continual quest for adventure (of the non-adrenalin inducing kind) from birth till now. Professionally, she pursues adventures in teaching, counseling and working to obliterate institutional racism for students in our region's public schools and also works as a tour and hiking guide. Previous professional adventures include working in schools in Seattle and Alaska, leading tours and managing tour guides and presenting traveling science shows and lessons with Pacific Science Center. She believes in sharing her beloved Pacific Northwest home with visitors. She likes to be outdoors and spend time with the people she loves. Jennie is born and raised in Seattle and has also lived in Alaska and the Netherlands.