The Lake Union Loop:
According to all the city sites online, the Lake Union Loop (Cheshiahud Loop) is 6.2 miles long, but walking it in the 90 degree heat made it feel like at least 8 if not 9 miles long. It could be because the Southwest portion of South Lake Union Park is not completed yet. In fact, it has a barricade at the very furthest point you can go behind the Navy building – of course there is no warning that there will be a chain link fence at the very end of the trail and you will have to backtrack….
We started our journey around Lake Union at Gasworks Park.
I had two very obliging 10 yr olds with me for the trip so it can be done with older children. We walked East on the Burke-Gilman Trail and to the University Bridge. The hardest part here is just making sure you don’t get in the path of a bike. For me it was making sure the girls stayed to the edge of the path. We crossed the University Bridge which was an amazing site and headed into the heart of Eastlake.
Eastlake Portion of The Loop
Most of the trail in Eastlake is along the water and there are wonderful sights to see along the way. There is one little jaunt up half a block when the trail meets a dead end leading to the the Mallard Cove Houseboats! It is half a block up a steep hill so the girls complain and I admit it probably was the hardest point of the trail altogether.
Once you hit Roanoke though, you head right back down the hill to the water and pass the Roanoke Reef Houseboats and the other side of Mallard Cove. There are patches f shade as you work your way South past the various houseboat docks on your right. By the time we hit Pete’s, we decided that we would go ahead and take advantage of their much needed air conditioning and search for a little trail snack. We took our time finding those Clif Bars and soaked up the cool air before heading back out in the 90 plus degree day.
Getting into South Lake Union….
Further down Fairview Ave E the Seattle houseboat docks stop and then there is a patch of century old industrial buildings before curving toward the West to head towards South Lake Union and Westlake. The Cheshiahud Loop, though, not completed around the far West end of Lake Union is simply delightful once you hit the boardwalk.
You head West and until you are directed to head closer to the water and walk along the shop front boardwalks on the water side. Much like Santa Cruz, this is a wonderful way to see Lake Union and I highly recommend at least heading to this part and checking it out! Right as you hit the boardwalk, you can look right and on most days the Malibu is docked right there. The M V Malibu is a historic Landmark and is a beautiful wooden boat – you should see it!
Speaking of Wooden Boats, if you like wood boats or even if you don’t, the Center For Wooden Boats is a must see stop in Seattle. This is a collection of beautiful and mighty boats and a rich source of Lake Union history.
South Lake Union to Westlake
As you walk further along you can go past the Naval Reserve Building (big white one) and stay on the dock for more great boats at the North end of the Lake Union Park which is still being constructed. This is where you can stop and take in more views of this gorgeous place. We abruptly came to a chain link barrier right when we got to the new pedestrian bridge in the park. I was really hoping it was open, but knew that it probably wasn’t. We had to completely back track back to the path leading to the Naval Reserve Building and then head to Westlake on the busier street side path.
Westlake into Fremont and back to the Burke-Gilman Trail
Once we hit Westlake, the Lake Union Loop was a very smooth and there are some beautiful boats and houseboats to see including the very famous Sleepless in Seattle houseboat. It is a very straight forward walk all the way up a nicely paved sidewalk until you hit the Diamond Marina. We stopped in and got some cool air conditioning and protein shakes at the local Starbucks and then kept going. Once you hit the North End of Westlake, you can choose a couple paths. At this point you can either head to the busier Westlake street side sidewalk and cross the Fremont Bridge from there or go straight past the turn off and along the old railway to a set of stairs leading up to the Fremont Bridge. I prefer the lower route which is a combination of gravel and abandoned railroad track. Along with a collection of charming North Westlake houseboats, there is also a cool over the water trestle you can choose to cross (carefully) or take the gravel road path.
Crossing the Fremont Bridge is easy as there are dedicated lanes just as there are on the University Bridge. We then met the Burke-Gilman Trail again and headed East to Gasworks.
Lake Union Loop walk. Check.
Whew!!! I definitely recommend this, just bring a water!!!! The Lake Union Loop (Cheshiahud Trail) is a work in progress and improving almost daily – I am excited to do this at least once a week and hopefully not in 90 degree temps again.
Email me and let me know what your favorite Lake Union Loop spots are!