Woods with tall evergreens
Walking paths and hiking trails
From 15th Ave NE turn east at the light onto 160th, which becomes the park road.
The main attraction of Hamlin Park is the extensive woods with paths and hiking trails. I would call Hamlin a walking park, so if that’s not your thing there are other parks that will much better suit you.
With that said, Hamlin is one of the most accessible parks in the Seattle area if you do want to get out in the trees for a walk, or to sit at a picnic table in a forest-like setting.
After driving down the park road you first come to a parking lot on your left. The lot is mostly used by people going out on the trails.
At the north end of this lot is the start of a mostly level out and back path through the woods that goes between two small hills. If you’re wanting a non-strenuous stroll among evergreens this might be just what you’re looking for.
There aren’t any benches along the path, but there are a few rocks and stumps where you can probably perch if you really need to take a load off.
If you’re wanting something a bit more rigorous, trails branch off of the path and up the hills.
There is a single picnic table under the trees at the edge of the parking lot, near the start of the path, if you’re looking for a quiet spot to have lunch.
If you keep driving on the park road you come to the main parking lot, at the central section of the park. Located here are playgrounds, bathrooms, two picnic areas, ball fields, and a long paved walking path.
The children’s play areas have modern equipment and are separated into a toddler’s playground and one for older children.
The first picnic area is next to the parking lot and bathrooms. It’s a modern type on cement with metal tables under a shelter. The other area is back in the trees, to the left of the bathrooms, with traditional style picnic tables. It feels almost like being out in a national forest.
If you skipped the wooded walking path at the first parking lot there is a paved path that loops around the entire ball field area, with a couple of benches for rest stops. It’s a nice sunny walk in the open when the weather cooperates.
On the far side of the field a mostly level dirt path parallels the paved path, but travels through the edge of the trees. Hiking trails and walking paths branch off of the loop in a couple places.
Unfortunately there is no good trail map for the park. Considering how much work the city of Shoreline has done on improving the trails in the last few years, it’s a rather glaring lack. The good news is, if you get lost you’re never too far from reaching a point where you can figure out your way back.
Once the sun starts getting lower in the west the light is pretty dim in the woods, especially on cloudy days. I recommend timing a first visit for when the sun is higher in the sky if you’re going to be on the trails.
Hamlin Park is especially beautiful after a rare heavy snow.
Things to Know
Dawn to dusk
Single picnic table at north end of first parking lot.
Picnic tables in two areas in the central section.
A few benches are scattered around the main park section and paved ball field walking path.
The bathrooms are located next to the picnic shelter by the second parking lot. As far as I know they are open year-round.
There are three or four handicap slots in the second lot, next to the paved path to the central park section.
Between the two lots there is always parking available.
Hamlin Park is regularly used by many locals, but because it’s a large park it almost never feels crowded.
The exception is when the ball fields are in use. I was there on an April afternoon when children, parents, and coaches started flooding in for baseball practice and I skedaddled. At a time like that if you stick to the woods it’s fine.
The park gets heavy use from dog owners. I discovered the park many years ago when looking for places to go with my dog, though he was always leashed.
There is no official offleash area at the park, so many dog owners let their dogs off their leashes on the trails in the woods. I’ve never run into a problem, but it’s something to consider if you’re fearful of dogs and want to hike.
There are orienteering courses set up in the woods at Hamlin Park, but I don’t know anything about it and I didn’t see any signs. Check the Shoreline Parks website for info if interested.
Best of the Northwest video about Hamlin Park
(You can click on the slideshow pause button and navigate the photos at your own pace using the arrow buttons.)
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