Seattle is lucky to have a lot of big, beautiful parks and national forests in close proximity. But, sometimes, it is nice to have a way to get into the woods without even leaving the home turf. Ravenna Park is exactly that. Located just north of Seattle’s University District, this small haven of nature is perfect for those days when you feel the need for a quick escape from urbanity in order to grab a breath of fresh air.
What Makes It Great
The focus of the 49.9-acre park (58.3 if you include the abutting Cowen Park) is the 0.75-mile long Ravenna Ravine, and the Ravenna Creek that runs within. There is a north and south trial, each of which traverses the ravine on either side of the creek. For the most straightforward run, start at one end of the park, take either the north or south trail across, loop around the other end, and take the other trail back. This will log you about 2.5 miles. For a longer run, explore the side trails and connectors. There is a total of 4.5 miles of trail within the park.The ravine was formed by melt-off from the Vashon glacier, which, 15,000 years ago, covered what would eventually become Seattle in 3,000-feet of ice. After the glacier’s retreat, the land became covered in lush forests. Much of this forest was cut down during Seattle’s development, but even at the height of the area’s logging industry the old-growth trees around the Ravenna Ravine were left alone.When realtor W.W. Beck bought the land that is now Ravenna Park in 1887, he strolled through its humongous firs and fecund understory in a state of near ecstasy; he named the area “Ravenna” after a coastal Italian town because its poets wrote of it with a similar sense of euphoria. While many Seattleites held the park in similar esteem to Beck and considered the hundreds-of-years-old trees in the ravine to be true gems, unfortunately they all mysteriously disappeared in the period between 1908 and 1926.Since then, the Ravenna community has then taken greater ownership over their neighborhood woods. Volunteers often get together to work to restore the native habitats within.
Who is Going to Love It
City-dwellers who crave a nice, short run. Anyone in need of an easy way to immerse him or herself in greenery.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are several access points to the trails: along NE Ravenna Blvd, NE 62nd, NE 58th, and NE 55th. There is a parking lot at NE 58th St. and 20th Ave. NE, and one at Ravenna Ave. NE and NE Park Rd.