Carkeek Park forest

About Carkeek Park

Park features and its importance

Carkeek Park includes saltwater, riparian, wetland, upland forest and meadow habitat supporting a wide range of wildlife within 216 acres. The six-mile trail system leads hikers to legendary Olympic mountain and Puget Sound viewpoints, along creeks, the beach, playground, Salmon Imprint Pond, Demonstration Gardens, Pipers Orchard, and remnants of original fir, hemlock, and cedar forests.

Piper’s Creek is one of five major watercourses assessed and reported on by the City of Seattle for stream hydrology, water quality, physical habitat, and biological communities because these characteristics indicate how well watersheds can perform environmental services. The other creeks are Thornton, Longfellow, Fauntleroy, and Taylor. Carkeek Park’s creeks are home to native cutthroat trout as well as one of only two salmon runs within the City of Seattle and the only one with regularly spawning salmon.

Carkeek Park at low tide

Carkeek Park’s beach is one of the premium tide pool beaches in Seattle. At a low tide, an additional 20 acres is exposed, allowing visitors to explore the intertidal habitat of Puget Sound. The railroad overpass to the beach attracts kids and adults who flock to the bridge when a train passes underneath.

The Metro CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow) and Pump Station is located on Pipers Creek Trail that gathers and sends piped effluent on toward the main treatment facility at West Point in Discovery Park. 

Carkeek Park is owned by the city and managed by Seattle Parks and Recreation that maintains a description of the Park and its projects. 

Carkeek has one full-time laborer supplemented by floating or seasonal help, and thousands of hours of volunteer assistance through the Carkeek Park Advisory Council (CPAC).

Both education buildings are closed

The Environmental Learning Center was closed to the public in 2013 and is currently leased to Creative Kids Learning Center.  

The Visitors Center is closed to the public at SPR’s discretion. It was open temporarily to house Discovery Park staff during upgrades to their facility. It has been closed since they returned to their park in June 2023.

Read more about the history of the closures.

To voice your concern about our public education buildings, please contact Joy, 206-684-8803, Chair of the Parks, Utilities, and Technology Committee.  

Visitors and volunteers seeking a restroom near the main entrance upper parking lot can find a portable toilet near the Metro Pump Station by driving or walking toward the lower meadow.

Report emergencies directly to Seattle Parks and Recreation

The volunteer contacts on this site are unable to act directly on a complaint or request for service.     

Carkeek Park history and news coverage

Art in the Park

In collaboration with the Carkeek Park Advisory Council, Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Department of Neighborhoods, and the Associated Recreation Council—the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) presented exhibitions of temporary, outdoor sculptural installations in Carkeek Park forests organized around the theme of “Heaven and Earth.” Visit the 2009 to 2018 archives.   

Green Seattle Partnership

The Green Seattle Partnership is a collaboration between City of Seattle, community groups and nonprofits, businesses, schools, and thousands of volunteers working together to restore and actively maintain the City’s forested parklands. GSP maintains a city-wide volunteer event calendar. Some of Carkeek Park volunteer leaders post events to this calendar.