Duwamish Climb - Hiking Sound Way
text and photos by Alan Robertson, Riverview
point: Highland Park Way and West Marginal Way
Less than an hour for the round-trip.
gain: Around 300 feet.
Wear shoes that you do not mind getting muddy. This trail is not
recommended for anything with wheels. The only drinking water
and restrooms are at the Riverview Playfields. The restrooms there
are not always open.
In 1953, the original 1st Ave S. bridge was being planned. In
conjunction with the bridge, there was a desire to build freeways
into what were then the suburban areas of Burien and SW Seattle.
I509 was built as the link into Burien, but Sound Way didn't progress
past property acquisition. Sound Way was to connect with the 1st
Ave S bridge, heading from there across Highland Park Way and
up through what is now being called the Soundway property. It
was to continue SW down through what is now Puget Ridge Co-housing,
across Orchard near Delridge, down past Westwood Village and ending
up near 23rd and Roxbury, just about three blocks east of Safeway.
The Seattle Department of Engineering needed fill for the 1st
Ave South bridge construction. The area where South Seattle Community
College and the Riverview Playfields are now, was all Sand and
Gravel mining. The DOE decided that they needed a road up along
the route expected to become Soundway. This would provide their
"fill" and allow them to begin cutting through this
ridge for future construction of Sound Way. The DOE built a service
road from the base of Highland Park Way up to 14th Ave SW and
SW Morgan St, with a specified 10% grade. The road then turned
South on 14th and exited at SW Holly St.
This hike follows the DOE service road.
can see the parking lot in the center of the picture above, just
above the green street sign. From this intersection, we could
walk North along the Duwamish River on the Duwamish Trail. You
can also head South-East and cross the First Avenue South bridge
into Georgetown. For this hike though, we are heading up into
is the trail sign in the parking lot on Highland Park Way. See
a close-up of the map below, by clicking on the thumbnail image.
Other than Morgan and 14th, pay little attention to the roads
within the boundary of the greenbelt. The other roads never made
it past the platting and will offer you little reference on the
was happy to see that all of the Soundway property was included
on the map as being protected greenbelt, though it is not
yet indicated as belonging to Seattle Parks.
from this map were actual maps of trails. I have drawn here
the trail that we are following.
As we start up the trail, really still a service road at this
point, we can see the work being done here by Nature Consortium.
There are piles of mulch and recently planted trees all around.
image above is looking back down the hill towards Highland Park
Consortium has included markers with detail on some of the birds
that migrate through the West Duwamish greenbelt. Click on the
thumbnails above to see the detail.
we continue up the hill, the road becomes narrower and less maintained.
road intersects, with the better trail heading South to the Pee-Wee
fields. We continue West on the road much less traveled, which
has turned into a narrow, over-grown muddy path.
may be a muddy trail, but there are street lights here, indicating
that the blackberries did not always rule.
we reach the crest of the hill, we can look North over SSCC to
downtown Seattle. At this point, we could continue West to 16th
and Morgan, but we turn South on the Service Road path which is
now on the 14th Ave SW right-of-way.
exit the trail at 14th Ave SW and SW Holly. From here, we can
follow a path West on Holly, down to 16th Ave SW. Or we can head
East, up to the Riverview Playfield on 12th Ave SW.
is planning on connecting this point with a trail to Riverview
Playfield and continuing through South Seattle Community College.
comments or edits? Please contact Alan