Strap on your walking or hiking shoes and pack some snacks! It’s time to take a stroll through Seattle’s best senior-friendly parks! Lifelong fitness boosts mental health and reduces the risk of a variety of ailments that frequently appear in older adults. Hiking is an excellent low-impact physical activity for seniors and people of all ages because it can be customized to individual needs and tastes and requires few supplies to get started.
Residents of Daystar Retirement Village in West Seattle are lucky to call such a beautiful area home. Our busy social calendar includes visits to local hidden gems and fan-favorite parks and trails. Use our senior-specific expertise to your advantage and pick the best park for your next day trip in the Seattle area.
What Makes a Trail Well-Suited for Seniors?
Walking outside is one of the best recreational activities for older adults. Some walking trails are more senior-friendly than others. Here are some criteria we use before recommending a trail for seniors:
- Accessibility- Is the trail paved? Are there lots of hills? Can you access scenic highlights without stairs or a long trek?
- Well-Signed- Trails must be clearly marked, and signs are easy to read.
- Route Options- People enjoy different kinds of walks or hike. Trails with different routes or lengths keep things interesting and offer something for every skill level and time commitment.
Best Flat Trails for Seniors Seattle Area
Seattle is flush with fantastic options for a scenic walk. Many of the best things to do in the Puget Sound area are outside! Here are some of our fan-favorite walking destinations for seniors in Seattle:
- Barclay Lake Trail- This 2.2-mile trail starts right from the parking lot. Barclay Lake Trail offers fantastic mountain views and a pristine alpine lake reward at the end of the short, easy hike.
- Cholchuck Lake- This 8-mile trail is a hike. Compared to other areas with steeper or longer trails, Cholchuck Lake is one of the longer hikes often recommended for seniors and beginners. The gorgeous and iconic tree-lined lake view is worth the rocky second half of the climb.
- Discovery Park- Perfect for bird-watching, Discovery Park Trail is a 2.2-mile closed loop through meadows and forested trails. Though it is not paved, this trail is clear, wide, and relatively flat. This hike also includes West Point Lighthouse, which offers scenic and sweeping views of Puget Sound.
- Golden Gardens Park- Take advantage of living near Puget Sound. Though unpaved, this flat trail winds through sandy beaches and coastal forests for an easy and interesting stroll.
- Olympic Sculpture Park- We love this nine-acre coastal exhibit. Located right on the water, this destination is in the thick of many cultural offerings so you can make a day of sightseeing. The sculpture park is paved and thoughtfully constructed for complete wheelchair accessibility, making it a favorite for seniors with walkers or other mobility concerns.
- Puget Sound Park- Our residents love watching kids play here. This park is in our Burien neighborhood. It includes a modest and accessible walking trail and a unique sky bridge.
- Seward Park- This is a short and relatively flat unpaved hike. Trails are often less busy than other areas. Take in the coastal forest and ocean view.
- Washington Park Arboretum- This beautiful botanical garden offers flat, marked, and manicured trails and several length options for hikes.
What is a Washington State Park Disabled Pass?
Washington State Parks require either a one-time fee or an annual pass (Discover Pass) for entry. The Washington State Park offers a free Disabled Pass that waives entry fees and offers other benefits. Many seniors meet the disability requirements for this pass. Head here to find out more about the Washington State Park Disability Pass.
Gear Seniors Need for Walking
One of our favorite things about walking is that it requires almost no supplies. It’s easy to get ready for a walk. Here are the supplies we recommend for senior hikers:
- Supportive Shoes-The best hiking shoes for seniors have supportive soles and fit well. Shoes that rub or cause blisters are not good for hiking. Don’t wear new shoes on a long walk.
- Walking Stick or Hiking Poles - A walking stick or pole is recommended for hikers and walkers of any age as they provide additional support on inclines, declines and unsteady pathways.
- First Aid- Don’t let a scratch or cut sideline your fun.
- Snacks and Water- Water is a must for any walk or hike. Light nutritious snacks are recommended in most situations.
- Cell Phone- Always have a way to call for help if needed.
- Safety Plan- Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you’ll be back, especially if you are hiking alone or in a remote area.
Tips for an Awesome Hike
There are plenty of ways to make walking more fun. Here are some tips from some of our seasoned senior hikers:
- Pack a fancy picnic or simple snacks.
- Bring a friend for conversation or quiet companionship.
- Seniors can get a discounted pass for national parks, but this isn't always the deepest discount available. Try an REI National Park Pass for discounted entry to area national parks.
- Join a walking group to walk with other seniors or friends.
- Take pictures and review them later. Display the best ones.
- Stop to rest. Why rush? Make a list of all the species of birds, trees, or insects you see.
Explore Daystar’s Spacious Grounds and Venture Out with Our Social Events
Daystar Retirement Village in West Seattle offers a scenic and homey backdrop and a bustling array of recreational offerings. We’d love to welcome you to our neighborhood. Contact us today to learn more.