Union Bay Natural Area in Seattle
There’s nothing better than living in Seattle. You get the hustle and bustle of downtown, but there’s also plenty of serenity just outside the city. In fact, you can find serenity right here in Seattle, too. All you need to do is head to the Union Bay Natural Area on Lake Washington.
Union Bay Natural Area is located near the University of Washington (you can park at 3501 NE 41st St.), and it’s maintained by the University of Washington Botanical Garden (the same folks who tend to Washington Park Arboretum). According to the website, the Union Bay Natural Area is “a public wildlife area, natural restoration laboratory, and an important habitat next to Lake Washington.”
The 74-acre property was once a landfill, but now the Union Bay Natural Area is bringing life back to the area. It’s now the second largest natural system left on Lake Washington, and it has several smaller ponds and swamps in the area. There’s plenty of public access, including several gravel and boardwalk hiking trails and four miles of shoreline.
Union Bay Natural Area is considered “one of the best bird-watching sites in Seattle.” There have been more than 200 species of birds spotted there. When I visited recently, I saw a female pheasant, plenty of waterfowl, a couple hummingbirds, and several other birds I couldn’t identify (I’m honestly not much of a birder).
You can see plenty of other wildlife at Union Bay Natural Area, too. Folks have spotted beavers, otters, turtles, and so much more. On top of all the wildlife, there are also plenty of flowers and plants unique to the area. This video does a really great job of showing what Union Bay Natural Area is all about.
Even though you’re strolling around Seattle, the Union Bay Natural Area makes you feel like you’re well outside the city. Sure, you can hear some vehicle, boat, and air traffic, but you can also hear birds whistling and insects buzzing. It’s a nice escape from city life and it’s just minutes from downtown.
Have you ever visited Union Bay Natural Area? How was your experience? We’d love to hear all about it! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to experience in the Emerald City!