North Shoreline (Near Aurora Village)
On the west side of Ashworth Ave. N, just south of N 200th St.
I wasn’t expecting to think much of Echo Lake Park because the interesting part by the lake is a very small area, but it turned out to be charming little park, aided by recent renovations.
The first section of the park in front of where you park your car contains a few trees, a play structure for small children, a picnic table, three benches, the bathroom, a public art installation, and a good-sized lawn. A paved path loops around the area.
Between the parking spaces and the park runs the Interurban Trail, a paved pedestrian and bicycle travel route that links north Seattle to Everett. To get to the section of the park on the lake head a fairly short distance south on the Interurban from the parking strip.
All new picnic tables and benches have been installed in the small area of the park nestled between the Interurban Trail and Echo Lake. There’s also a tiny gravel beach.
Be careful on the gravel. It looks level and solid, but it’s soft and loose, with a hidden short drop. The park had only been open a couple months since the renovation when I was visiting in the spring, so with summer usage it will hopefully get packed down.
Beyond the mini beach is a raised section of the park path with a railing looking out over some cattails and the lake.
Even though the shore around the rest of the lake is all private property that is built up with lots of houses and apartments, the view from the park is actually quite pretty. The park is at the end of a little bay and the nearby properties have lots of trees.
The main attraction for me was the variety of birds to watch and photograph. But even if birds aren’t your thing, Echo Lake Park is a surprisingly peaceful spot considering its close proximity to the hustle and bustle of Aurora Village. It’s a wonderful place to go if you want to be by water and enjoy some quiet contemplation.
Things to Know
Plenty of benches and picnic tables, most of them by the lake.
The bathroom is unisex. A single large room that is handicap accessible.
Unfortunately the toilet is the steel prison-style kind. With all the other improvements you’d think they could have installed a real toilet with a seat!
If that won’t do, there’s an Arby’s at Aurora and 205th. Or there’s Costco on 200th if you have a membership.
Parking is a row of spaces just off the street at the north end of the park.
There aren’t a lot of them, and I don’t know if they often fill up. It seems like the majority of people walk to the park.
On the spring weekday mornings and early afternoons I’ve been there several slots were available.
There are two handicap slots.
Parking is limited to 4 hours during the day on weekdays to prevent commuters from taking up the slots.
Because Echo Lake is on the Interurban quite a few people pass by or through at all times of day.
In the mornings especially you can find people fishing from shore.
The rest of the time it can vary as to how many people linger in the park. You might be the only one, or there might be a handful of people.
The majority of park users appear to be middle-aged and elderly people from the surrounding neighborhood. I’m not sure how much that might change on weekends and in the summer.
I have a feeling that most people prefer to spend an afternoon with the family at larger parks in the area that also have playgrounds suitable for older children, and that Echo Lake doesn’t often get crowded.
It has always been very quiet when I was there, even when there were several people by the lake.
Best light: morning.
Wildlife I’ve Seen
Birds – crow, sparrows, black-capped chickadee, robin, double-crested cormorant, pied-billed grebe, great blue heron, red-winged blackbird, Canada goose, and mallard.
(Note that the satellite view on the map is from before the park was renovated, so it’s very misleading.)