Marsh Island

by | Seattle

It was a hot day in August, 98 degrees, and the heat was doing strange things to the light, and our moods, and my hair. But we had to get out of the house.

From the lower parking lot of Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry there is a little trail that leads to the lake, and a footbridge that leads to Marsh Island. The trees close in around you, the shade and the breeze off the water cool the air, lingering humidity makes the forest feel a bit dank, the path disappearing into the woods, the occasional park bench hidden in dark corners, makes the trail inviting, yet it also feels a bit mysterious or dangerous.


A tiny little island framed by Lake Washington’s Union Bay and the Evergreen Bridge, Marsh Island is aptly named. The path through the island is often muddy, regardless of the weather. I suspect the kids dripping their way back to the car from the swimming hole may be contributing to the texture of the trail. With the exception of the swimming hole, the island is surrounded by wetlands, water grasses, lily pads and the accompanying pond scum, or what ever that scary green bubbly stuff is called. I’ve asked what it was before, but didn’t stick around long enough for the answer. While I like looking at lily pads, the green stuff grosses me out.


Nearby, UW’s Water Activities Center rents kayaks and canoes; boaters can quietly slip under the bridge to the Arboretum on the other side.


The area is rich with wildlife, particularly waterfowl and beavers. There is a huge beaver dam nearby. We didn’t see any beavers this time, but the place was teeming with ducks.


It’s so nice to be able to get to a quiet place in what’s left of nature. Especially if you can find it in the city.

Judy Schwartz Haley


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