WA: Gas Works-Discovery Park-Magnolia-Ballard Locks

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

After our tour around the waterfront with Joe, we still had plenty of time to drive to Gas Works Park for the 6:15 PM meet up with the COGS group for their weekly Wednesday Evening Rides. Their routes vary week to week and sample the different Seattle neighborhoods, parks and waterfronts. These are stay-together, no drop rides with separate pace groups and volunteer ride leaders. The mileage can range anywhere from 20-35 miles depending on the group and terrain. It all sounds great-we’re in!

As guest riders for the moderate paced group, we receive a warm welcome from the many COGS members. We also get to meet our gracious host for our stay in Seattle; Soheil. He’s offered to let us park the RV in front of his house and to even use his shower!

“The Judge”, our ride leader decides on a route and our group of 7 people head on out of the park. We head west on N Northlake Way and make a little loop and cross the Fremont Bridge to get onto the South Ship Canal Trail. This trail runs 1.9 miles along the southern edge of the Lake Washington Ship Canal near Fisherman’s Terminal out to the other end at W Emerson Pl.

Gilman Ave and W Government Way takes us along the northern edge of Magnolia, the second largest neighborhood in Seattle. W Government Way leads us to the short steep climb into Discovery Park; formerly the US Army’s Fort Lawson. This open space overlooks Puget Sound and offers spectacular views of both the Cascades and the Olympic Mountain ranges. We follow the path and drop down the south end of the park onto Magnolia Blvd W.

Click on any photo below to start the gallery slide show

Magnolia Blvd W runs through a upscale neighborhood with large estate homes and beautifully landscaped yards. It hugs the peninsula and offers more magnificent views of Seattle. Magnolia Park is on Magnolia Bluff with unobstructed views of the beautiful Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains-WOW! We descend Thorndyke Ave W to 20th Ave which runs along the BSNF RR tracks back onto W Emerson Pl; this completes the counter clock-wise loop around Magnolia.

We cross the RR tracks and head north on 23rd Ave to Commodore Way towards Salmon Bay. We take a path into Commodore Park and get off our bikes to walk around and across Ballard Locks and to check out the Fish Ladder. There is a lower viewing area that allows visitors to watch the spawning fish head into freshwater. This is a very scenic way to cross the ship canal from Magnolia over to Ballard.

On the other side of the Locks, we exit the garden area and head north on 32nd Ave NW for the gentle climb up through the west end of a residential neighborhood in Ballard. We arrive at Sunset Hill Park; it’s a gorgeous viewpoint area with a pathway that rests on a 300 foot bluff with breathtaking panoramic views of Shilshole Bay, Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains-WOW! The sunsets here must be spectacular!

We descend 24th Ave NW to Shilshole Ave NW and hop onto the Burke-Gilman Trail that follows along the shoreline of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, behind Google Seattle and continues underneath the Fremont and Aurora Bridge back to N Northlake Way and Gas Works Park.

This 17 mile jaunt around the Seattle neighborhoods has a nice variety of terrain from flat to hilly, upscale neighborhoods and industrial areas and most importantly, the phenomenal views of Puget Sound, the Cascade and the Olympic Mountains-WOW!

Thanks to “The Judge” for leading and showing us around this beautiful city and to the other COGS members for their patience and support!

*I lost all my pics from this ride to a bad external drive. All the photos seen here are taken from the web except for the one of me on top of the hill at Gas Works Park.

Garmin Stats:
17.13 Miles with 830′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 335′
Max grade: 11%

Weather: GREAT! Sunny & warm with temps ranging from the mid 60’s to the high 70’s. NW winds with 35% humidity

Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you. 


Click here to view the interactive route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride: