Where to Run in Seattle: You Won’t Be Lonely at Green Lake

Fall at Green Lake
Rain or shine, Seattle’s Green Lake path attracts walkers, runners, strollers, and leashed dogs.

The distance each way from 9 Cranes Inn to Green Lake is about half a mile. The distance around Green Lake depends on whether you take the high path (more natural and less congested at 3.4 miles around) or the low path (paved and quite populated at 2.8 miles).

To get there from here, step off the porch and turn left toward N. 58th St. Turn right on 58th, head two blocks up a slight incline to Phinney Ave N. Use the crosswalk to cross Phinney and turn left. At this point, your options for getting to the lake are numerous (see map below):

The most straightforward route is actually the longest. Continue north on Phinney to N. 68th St. Turn right, heading east, and descend a long hill. Six to eight blocks later, you’ll dead end onto Aurora Ave N. (also known as Hwy 99). Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT cross this road anywhere except at the marked crosswalk with a button to push for stopping traffic. It’s between 68th and 70th. Directly across the street is the lake.

The most scenic route is the one less traveled. It skirts the Woodland Park Zoo, traverses a skybridge over Aurora Ave., and winds through Woodland Park toward the south end of Green Lake. From the east side of Phinney Ave. N. (the side opposite the pie shop ;-), turn right onto N. 59th Ave. (at he 7/11 store) and head down the hill to Aurora Ave. DO NOT CROSS AURORA HERE. Instead, on the right side of 59th, find the soft path between the zoo’s northeastern border fence and the road – it feels as if you are trespassing on someone’s property, but you aren’t. In about half a block is the skybridge that leads over to Woodland Park and eventually down toward the lake. Having yet to find a good map of the paths of this park, I can only suggest having a pleasant meander in its urban-woods setting. You really can’t get too lost.

The “locals” route (the one we take) is deceptively the most direct. It cuts through the residential neighborhood to the north of the zoo. After crossing Phinney and turning left, turn right on N. 60th St. (at the Phinney Market), staying on the left-hand sidewalk because you want to follow the curvy road (Woodland Place N.) all the way down the hill. You will come to a four-way but skewed intersection with few stop signs. Carefully cross the busier road and turn right toward the overpass. Walk under the overpass about a block and a half and voila!

To return to the inn, simply reverse course or try one of the above alternate routes backwards. Total distance will be anywhere from 3.8 to 5 miles, assuming that you circumnavigate the lake once you reach it. Don’t worry, if you need a coffee or lunch break while doing it, you’ll find several options on the north end of the lake. You can go fast or slow; solo, paired, or partied; but we suggest you don’t go in the dark (lighting is poor to nonexistent).

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