View of Cascades and Mt. Baker
East side of 15th Ave E – across from Lake View Cemetery.
One of the odd things I’ve noticed as I’ve ventured out more over the last year is the lack of eastward looking viewpoints in Seattle. I say odd because the city is full of ridges that could provide great views, but they’re covered in houses, not parks.
So I was delighted when I stumbled across Louisa Boren Lookout on my recent trips to Volunteer Park. The overlook is named for Louisa Boren Denny, and was created out of the large Interlaken Park, which consists primarily of trees and trails for bicyclists, runners, and urban hikers.
The pocket park contains a large sculpture, paved path, and a surprising number of benches given how small the park is. Several old trees add shade and homes for numerous squirrels, crows, and Steller’s jays.
The view is okay, but not spectacular, as it’s limited to a mostly northeast direction. You can see the Cascades, a bit of Lake Washington, Union Bay, Husky Stadium, and on the clearest days, Mt. Baker. Adding to the scenery are the trees of Interlaken Park down below.
A drawback to the location is that it’s directly under a flight path, so you have the occasional noise of jet airliners flying low overhead. Also, if you have small children with you, you need to keep a close eye on them because the dropoff at the edge of the park is rather precipitous and there is no fence.
The best times of day for visiting Louisa Boren Lookout are right at sunrise, and then late afternoon so the sun is at your back and striking the mountains in the distance. Mid to late fall when the big leaf maples are in full color, and winter through spring when the mountains are covered in snow, are the best times of year for photography.
Avoiding crowds or worrying about parking are not concerns here. When planning a visit the only things you need to consider are the weather and best daylight for making the most of the view.
Like North Passage Point, you can add this pocket park to your list of “secret” Seattle viewpoints with which to impress your friends and visiting relatives.
Things to Know
4 am – 11:30 pm
You can use the bathrooms in nearby Volunteer Park. Use the east entrance on 15th at the 4-way stop, located a few blocks south of Louisa Boren Lookout.
Parking is on the streets around the lookout.
The most convenient and reliably available parking is on Olin Place. (Zoom in on the map linked below.)
Louisa Boren Lookout is primarily used by people living in the neighborhood and those seeking out Seattle viewpoints.
On my second visit it was a warm and cloudless day in late September, so several people were in the park enjoying the nice weather and the view. But most of the time you’re less likely to see many in the park at once, and it may not be unusual to have it to yourself.
Cascade Mountains, Mt. Baker, squirrels, fall foliage.
Best light: sunrise or afternoon.
Lake View Cemetary, Volunteer Park, Washington Park Arboretum.