Seattle: Sunset Hill Park

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Type:

Viewpoint

Location:

NW Seattle

Special Feature:

Sweeping view of Puget Sound, Olympics, and Shilshole Marina

Park Entrance:

From 32nd Ave NW turn west on NW 77th.
77th curves to the south and becomes 34th Ave NW.
The park is along the west side of 34th.

 

Preview

I discovered Sunset Hill Park while looking at the Seattle Parks Interactive Map when searching for places to go with my camera. It’s a wonderful little spot that is mostly known to the neighborhood and people who actively look for scenic viewpoints.

The park is located at the top of a 300 foot bluff above Shilshole Marina. It doesn’t have much in the way of what you normally find at a park, but the view is the only thing it needs.

The park is a strip of grass between the street and the edge of the bluff and is a couple city blocks long. Most of the tall vegetation along the bluff is kept cut back in order to preserve the outward looking view.

The park has a paved path along the fence at the edge of the bluff, several benches, and two picnic tables. That’s it.

If you’re into boats, Sunset Hill is a great place to be, since you can watch boats heading out into Puget Sound from Salmon Bay and the marina. Sunny weekends are best for boat watching.

To the south in the distance you can see the beach point and lighthouse of Discovery Park. Sometimes you can hear sea lions barking. They like resting on a buoy that’s a ways out from the marina jetty.

This is definitely a park where you will want your binoculars and/or camera.

If you’re looking for a laid back, peaceful spot to enjoy the view or read a book, Sunset Hill Park is just the place to go. It is aptly named because it is also a fabulous spot to watch the sun go down.

 

Things to Know

Hours:

4 am – 11:30 pm

Seating:

Several benches in groupings of two or three. The benches at the south end are in a nice little mini-garden nook.

Two picnic tables on the lawn at the south end.

Bathrooms:

None.

At the intersection of 85th and 15th there is a drugstore and grocery store if you have an emergency. Or you can use the Golden Gardens dog park bathroom if you know where that is.

(I dropped by the park a few days ago and there was a small porta potty on the parking strip across the street that hadn’t been there before. I don’t know if it was installed for the summer or if it was temporary for workers.)

Parking:

Parallel street parking. Plenty available during the day.

When I was there for sunset on a warm day in October the parking mostly filled up after I got there. So get there at least half an hour before the sun goes down if that’s what you’re doing.

Usage:

The park is primarily used by people who live in the neighborhood, with an occasional photography enthusiast stopping in.

On weekday mornings and early afternoons most people just pass through the park on their walks.

On sunny weekends quite a few people stay for a while on the picnic tables and benches, or a blanket spread on the lawn.

If it looks like it will be a good sunset expect a lot of people to drop by. The sunset watchers were friendly and chatty (and a lot of them seem to know each other), so if you’re not a people person find an open spot and avoid smiling at anyone. Heh.

Also, the south end after a sunny day tends to be a bit rowdier with families and teen frisbee tossers. The north end tends to attract an older, more sedate crowd for sunset.

Photo ops:

Fantastic view, sunsets, and boats.

Best light: morning or sunset.

Combo Outing

Golden Gardens, Ballard Locks

Web Resources:

Map location

Seattle Parks page

 

(You can click the slideshow pause button and use the arrows to navigate the photos at your own pace.)

 

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2 thoughts on “Seattle: Sunset Hill Park

  1. I’ll have to keep this in mind as a possible sunset/boat viewing location. It looks like it would be worth the drive. The only sunset-over-water viewpoint I’ve found up north, so far, is Howarth Park in north Everett which overlooks a rather industrial-looking area of Everett. Sunset Hill Park looks much better!

    Like

    • There are a couple good places to go that are a bit closer to Everett. Downtown Edmonds has wonderful parks along the beach, and a street up on a short bluff that I think is called Sunset Ave. Also, Richmond Beach Saltwater Park in northwest Shoreline has fantastic viewpoints up on a hill. You won’t see as many recreational boats like at Sunset Hill, but in Edmonds you get the ferry. Oh, and don’t forget the lighthouse park in downtown Mukilteo. It’s even closer and has a ferry and a lighthouse!

      I’ll be doing previews for all those locations eventually. They’re on my list, but I need to make more trips for more photos and details. I usually only go to Mukilteo when my family meets there for Thanksgiving, so I’ll have to make a special trip on a nice weather day when I’m feeling good.

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