This small, forested park in Shoreline offers a network of trails that provide a pleasant diversion if you are in the neighborhood.
The park measures about 600 feet south to north and 1,200 feet west to east. It's bordered on the south by NE 150th St and on the east by 25th Ave NE. The trees are mostly Douglas firs with some cedar and madrone mixed in. Salal and Oregon grape occur in the understory. There are a few invasive species: Occasional Himalayan blackberry around the park edges, and ivy and holly here and there throughout the park. Park stewards are working to eliminate these invaders, but it's a challenge.
As of early 2018 the city does not offer a park trail map, and no trail details are shown on the Google street map. If you use the Northwest Topo map with a GPS unit, that map does show some of the park trails.
One paved trail closely follows the southern park boundary. Part way along, a wide paved trail heads off toward the northeast and emerges at the northern park boundary along an extension of NE 153rd St. Signs at both ends of the wide paved trail summarize park rules, including "Park in designated areas only." But, oddly, South Woods Park has no designated parking areas. (For some options, see the Driving Directions below.)
The park has a number of unpaved trails that branch off from the wide paved trail. It's difficult to tell which of these are truly official (there are no trail signs in the park) but some clearly have been there a very long time and get a lot of regular use.
If you are so inclined, feel free to meander. Just use your best judgment to stick to main trails and avoid improvised boot paths. If you prefer a more specific suggestion, here is a loop route that gets to all parts of the park:
- If you are beginning near the dog park on 20th Ave NE, head back south and find the east-bound paved trail just north of NE 150th St. Head east, slightly uphill, on this trail.
- When you come to the wide paved trail that heads northeast turn onto that trail and follow it about 100 feet, then turn right onto the obvious unpaved trail that heads east.
- Stay on this trail, keeping right at minor trail junctions, until you reach the eastern park boundary at 25th Ave NE. (If you have opted to park near the eastern side of the park, you can join the loop route here.)
- Backtrack about 100 ft from the park boundary and head right at the trail fork. Follow this route as it meanders back to the wide paved trail.
- Look for the remains of an old concrete foundation just west of the wide paved trail. Head past it and take the ongoing trail that heads roughly southwest.
- Avoid side trails that drop down the slope and lead to crawl spaces under the park fence. The main ongoing trail will loop around to the south, then to the southeast, reaching the southern park boundary back near the beginning of the wide paved trail.
- From there, follow the westbound paved trail back to your parking place.
During your visit you are likely to see a few squirrels, and at least hear a few birds. Wildflowers are minimal here, but you may be able to identify a few. Look for Indian plum blooming in February, and be alert for an occasional trillium in early spring. Salal and Oregon grape bloom later.