Cowen and Ravenna Parks form a contiguous urban nature area and green space, containing Ravenna Ravine and Ravenna Creek, in the middle of North Seattle. There are several access points to the trails, located along Brooklyn Ave NE, Ravenna Ave NE, NE 62nd Street, NE 58th Street, and NE 55th Street. There are 4.5 miles of trails traversing a 0.75-mile stretch of ravine, which is as much as 115 feet deep. The ravine is crossed in the North-South direction by the 15th Ave NE and 20th Ave NE bridges, which provide an interesting architectural backdrop to the ravine.
Park flora include maple, Douglas fir, Western Hemlock, and red cedar. Tulips and daffodils bloom in the spring and summer. Ravenna Creek runs through the middle of the park and is an ever-babbling presence. Fauna include sparrows, seagulls, finches, and murders of crows, not to mention urban squirrels. The western and eastern ends have playgrounds and ballfields, including a zipline at the western end and a sandbox at the eastern end. The park is used by hikers, runners, pets, and bicyclists, with sturdy asphalt and gravel trails.
Choose an end of the park to start. Street parking can be found during the daytime, and the park is open from 4:30 am to 11 pm. Proceed into the ravine, and imagine how the park might have looked had the 400-foot old growth Douglas firs been left unmolested. Explore side trails and connectors as you traverse the ravine. Enjoy this urban oasis all seasons of the year, including the Ravenna Park Bridge, which turned 100 in 2013.