Given the exquisite landscaping and loving upkeep of the Washington Park Arboretum, there is a valid argument that any season is the season to walk this zenful 230 acres. However, springtime and fall are the highlights with blossoms and leaves, respectively, providing a parade of color and texture.
Spring bloom time has recently begun, with Japanese cherries, magnolias, rhododendrons, camillias, and forsythia showing off among the new, bright green leaves of other trees. Professional and hobbyist photographers alike are flocking to the park these days, along with the usual dog walkers, runners, couples-in-love, and troupes of school children on nature walks.
Highlights include the Japanese Garden and the Foster and Marsh Islands trail at the north end of the park, featuring breathtaking views of Lake Washington, University of Washington, and often crew boats, kayakers, canoers, and all other sorts of boaters. This area is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, filled with herons, eagles, red-winged blackbirds and all forms of ducks and other marshland birds. This trail map will be helpful on your walks.
The Arboretum is open from dawn to dusk every day of the year. There is no admission fee. The Graham Visitors’ Center is open from 10am to 4pm every day of the week (closed on certain holidays) and includes a gift shop, restrooms, and a meeting space. The Japanese Garden is open Tuesday - Saturday, except for June, July and August when it is open every day of the week. The admission fee is $5.00. This map will help you find your way there.