Whether you’re a first-time visitor to the Washington Park Arboretum or have been coming to the gardens for decades, a new trail project will take you through plants you likely haven’t seen here before.
Construction has begun on the new Arboretum Loop Trail. Once finished, this paved, multi-use 1.2-mile trail will connect to Arboretum Drive, creating a highly accessible 2.5-mile path through plants and trees from around the world—many of which are rare or threatened species. The paved path will create more opportunities for pedestrians, wheelchair users, slow-moving bicycle riders and families with strollers to exercise and explore once-hidden parts of the Arboretum year-round.
Much of our work will benefit existing plant collections by adding new specimens, replanting with native species that provide richer food and shelter for wildlife, and removing unhealthy and invasive plants. Portions of Arboretum
Creek will be day-lighted, and important wetland habitat will be restored.
Throughout planning, design and construction, the health of Seattle’s flagship public garden has been a top priority. We moved what we could, propagated what we couldn’t, and rerouted the Loop Trail to protect rare, unusual or very large trees that could not be moved. In total, just 137 of the Arboretum’s 10,000+ trees will be removed, and we intend to reuse all of the tree material onsite in restoration projects and other work.
As part of mitigation for the current phase of the SR 520 bridge project, the Washington State Department of Transportation is providing $7.8 million to help complete portions of the arboretum’s 20-year master plan, which was adopted in 2001 after years of public input. This paved path is a jewel of the master plan.
More information is available on the City of Seattle project site.