From 8th Ave NE turn east on NE 147th St.
Follow the street through the neighborhood and it will curve to the north where it will deadend at a gravel turnaround.
Paramount Open Space Park is a city-owned greenbelt with very minimal development. It is a well-hidden park, and my guess is that for the most part only people living in the nearby neighborhoods even know it’s there. Unless you’re someone like me, who studies maps looking for new places to go.
The central feature is a small meadow stretching north from the gravel turnaround. There are three widely spaced benches at the south end of the meadow, all of them close to parking. The rest of the park is a strip of woods, with wetland and a creeklet through the middle.
If you can ignore the one nearby house and the sounds of traffic, you’d never believe you are smack in the middle of suburbia. There must be a couple dozen different kinds of trees in the park, attracting a wide variety of birds.
A wide gravel path bisects the park, running between the parking turnaround and the street on the east side of the park. A trail from the meadow heads north on the west side of the park. I have no idea how far it goes because I’ve never been interested enough to find out.
About halfway down the gravel path heading east is another small meadow. At the north end of it a trail goes through some blackberries and into the trees. Opposite of the little meadow another trail goes into the woods heading south. I’ve only taken it a short ways past the footbridge, but it probably goes all the way to 145th.
Despite the fact I’ve mentioned trails, there are much better parks in the area to choose from if you want to go for a walk among trees. (Northacres and Hamlin for suggestions.) These trails primarily exist to facilitate foot traffic through the neighborhood.
Paramount Park is the kind of place to wander around aimlessly for a little while, and then settle down to simply enjoy the beauty of nature.
It’s an idyllic oasis of green, best suited to reading a book, bird watching, or quiet contemplation. Bring a blanket for the grass or choose a bench, and listen to the wind in the trees and the many different bird songs.
The one thing I think of most in association with this park is the sounds of birds, especially in spring and early summer. The icing on the cake is that you can hear distant church bells chiming on the hour.
I recommend going to this park well before the end of daylight if you’re planning to be in the woods for bird photography. You start really losing light about three hours before sunset because of thick trees on a short hill on the west side of the park.
The park isn’t very attractive from late autumn through early spring. Most of the trees are deciduous, so in winter the park is basically just a muddy lawn surrounded by dead sticks. The trails are mucky too.
For the rest of the year Paramount Open Space Park is a picturesque place to observe seasonal changes from the first flowers and leaves of spring through foliage turning color in the fall.
Things to Know
Because of the wetland, there are plenty of mosquitoes in the woods. If you are walking briskly on the trails it’s not much of a problem. But if you will be dawdling in the trees in search of birds, wearing bug repellent is an excellent idea. They aren’t a problem in the open meadow area.
Three benches scattered around the south end of the meadow, close to the parking area.
There is a Burger King at 145th and 15th.
Small gravel turnaround with space for a few cars.
Park usage varies quite a bit. In spring and fall, during the day, it’s not unusual to have the park completely to yourself, aside from neighborhood walkers and joggers occasionally passing through.
As the meadow dries out in spring and the weather warms up more people start appearing, especially in the afternoons after school gets out for the day. Mostly teens playing catch with footballs or frisbees, parents with children who need space to run around, and dog owners playing fetch.
In the summer the park seems to be a fairly popular hangout for neighborhood teenagers. But popular in this context just means it’s common to see a pair or small group at the park. I don’t mean it’s a rowdy gathering spot. They’re usually just sitting and talking quietly or playing catch in the meadow.
Because of the limited development and parking, I’ve never seen Paramount Park actually crowded with other people. A typical “busy” day is a group of four teens, and a parent with two kids and a dog.
Nothing special unless you have a good telephoto for birds.
Best light: late morning through early afternoon.
Birds I’ve Seen
Varied thrush, song sparrow, black-capped chickadee, house finch, pileated woodpecker, red-breasted nuthatch, spotted towhee, chestnut-backed chickadee, great blue heron.
Don’t confuse Paramount Open Space Park with Paramount School Park.
The school park is a bit further north on 8th and is a typical neighborhood park with playground, picnic area, ball field, and a skate park.
When heading back home, if you need to go east on 145th, making a left turn from 8th onto 145th can be a pain because of heavy traffic and no traffic light.
I find it’s less stressful to loop around by going north on 8th to 155th. Turn right onto 155th and go to 15th, then choose your route from there.