View deck with view of Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains
Richmond Beach Drive NW
Kayu Kayu Ac Park (pronounced Ki-yoo Ki-yoo Atch) is an obscure park known mostly just to locals in Shoreline. It is located a mile or two north of the well-known Richmond Beach Saltwater Park.
The park is small and is situated on land owned by a King County pump station. It used to be referred to as Pump Station Park, but in 2009 it received a complete makeover, including getting a new name. The name is what the Duwamish people called this area of the Puget Sound shoreline.
The tiny parking lot only has five spaces, one of which is reserved for handicapped parking. Overflow parking is available on a gravel strip outside the park gate along the west side Richmond Beach Drive. There is a slight hill from street level down into the park. It’s not far or steep, but something to consider for those with limited mobility.
There is no turnaround space for vehicles inside the park so if the lot is full you have to reverse back out to the street. It’s best to assess the lot situation from the park entrance and if it’s full don’t continue to drive in, back around and use the street parking.
The park is small, with an open lawn area at the north end, three picnic tables, a playground, three benches, the view deck, a restroom, and several public art pieces. There is no water or beach access from this park.
The playground structure is compact and designed mostly for younger children, but has several nice features. There is also a swing set. All three benches in the park are in the play area.
Two picnic tables are on the north side of the playground next to the fence that separates the park from the train tracks. Bushes used to line the fence so there was essentially no view from the tables, but most of them have recently been removed. The third picnic table is by itself beyond the swings, but is still close to the play area.
This arrangement means this is a great place for young families to picnic, but if you don’t like being right next to playing children you either need to bring a picnic blanket to get further away or just choose a different park.
The view deck is just south of the playground. It is fairly small, but does have a ramp making access easy and it also has interpretive signs with some history about the area. Unfortunately there is no bench on the deck, but there is room to bring a camp stool with you if you like.
The view from here is nice, but not spectacular. A small point immediately to the south with houses on it blocks view of the shoreline in that direction. Directly west you get a very nice view of the sound and Olympic Mountains. (Mountains not visible in the photos below because a solid cloud bank moved in during the two hours between me checking webcams and arriving at the park.)
As an extra special treat while I was here, the Southern Resident orcas cruised by and I watched them from the deck! They were quite a distance out from shore, but I could clearly see their dorsal fins (including a baby!) and spouting sprays. I also saw a pod of harbor porpoises and a couple of harbor seals, which are much more common sightings than the orcas.
To the north you can see the Edmonds-Kingston ferries crossing the sound and the Point Wells facility. Point Wells began operation in 1912 as an asphalt refinery and light petroleum products transfer station. The asphalt plant shut down in 2000 but I believe the petroleum distribution terminal is still in operation.
Sidenote: A developer acquired Point Wells in 2006 and has been trying to push through the development of an urban center with highrise residential buildings since 2007, which would dramatically alter the nature of and traffic in the Richmond Beach neighborhood of Shoreline and the Town of Woodway.
The land is in unincorporated Snohomish County, so neither Shoreline nor Woodway have any direct control over what happens. Everything is currently tied up in the Snohomish County permitting process and in the courts. Of course I think the best use would be a new Snohomish County regional park, but no one is asking me, nor do I have the millions of dollars needed to make that happen. Heh!
Even though the park is right next to the tracks and you get an up close view of passing trains, train lovers will do better at other parks. The topography makes it so that a train is almost directly in front of you before you even know it’s coming. Kids get a kick out of the trains though, especially on the occasions when engineers toot their horns.
Kayu Kayu Ac is a neat, but busy, little park that is worth a visit if you enjoy touring the various Puget Sound viewpoints in the greater Seattle area. If you aren’t keen on kids it’s probably not the place for you for an extended park outing, but if you have children this is a great spot where they can play while you enjoy the view and soak up some sun.
Things to Know
Dawn to dusk.
Three benches in playground.
Three picnic tables, all close to playground.
One room all gender bathroom.
Small lot with four regular spaces and one handicapped space. Overflow parking for several cars next to the road just outside of the park.
Many people walk to the park from the surrounding area, which helps, but the four regular spaces do often fill up. Check for empty spaces before you fully enter the park so it’s easy to reverse and turn around to use the street parking if need be. The street parking is enough to handle overflow most of the time.
Kayu Kayu Ac Park is primarily used by locals in the Richmond Beach area. It is an extremely popular park for those with small children.
I was here on a mild weekday in September for about an hour between 4:30 and 5:30 pm. I was only alone in the park for about 10 minutes of that entire time. At one point the lot was full and quite a few people were in the park, though at least two of them were only there because of the orcas.
I talked to a grandmother with her two young grandchildren, and she said the park is rarely crowded, but there is usually a fairly steady trickle of people coming and going all through the day. Most people using the park come for the playground, but the park also gets people stopping in briefly for the view or sunsets, and a few dog walkers come through as well.
Wildlife I’ve Seen
Orca (very rare), harbor porpoise (uncommon), harbor seal (common).
Olympic Mountains, public art, trains, wildlife if you’re lucky, sunsets.
Best light: morning, sunset.