Washington Park Arboretum is a hidden gem on the shores of Lake Washington. Its 230 acres are a dynamic assortment of plants found nowhere else. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find something of interest along the trails that wind through gardens, natural areas and wetlands, and a dynamic assortment of plants found nowhere else.
Washington Park Arborteum, 2300 Arboretum Drive East, Seattle, WA 98112 (Google map). Free parking.
Seasonal highlights in the Washington Arboretum
Winter highlights: Enjoy the fragrances of honeysuckle and witch hazel, and admire paperbark maples and birches. The Camellia Collection features bloom throughout the winter months. The Pinetum features the great diversity of conifer species. Over 200 species and 3,000 individual conifers are featured in the Arboretum.
Spring highlights: Flowering cherries, azaleas and dogwoods. Loderi Valley features large-leaved, fragrant rhododendrons sheltered by magnolias. Rhododendron Glen contains hundreds of rhododendrons and companion plants. The Magnolia Collection is one of the best in North America.
Summer highlights: Explore the five eco-geographic regions of the Pacific Connections Garden. See stunning hydrangeas, magnolias and sorrel trees. The Japanese Garden is a great place for a tranquil summer stroll among water features and formal plantings.
Autumn highlights: Stroll through the beautiful Woodland Garden to view one of the largest collections of Japanese maples in North America. Enjoy the vivid fall colors of sour gum, buckeye, witch hazel and more. Visit the extensive collection of oaks and related trees. Many were among the first plantings in the Arboretum and now are of magnificent size.
Tours of the Washington Arboretum
Several types of free public tours are offered at the Washington Park Arboretum. Tours are led by trained guides and focus on seasonal topics of interest and special plant collections.
Free weekend walks at Washington Park Arboretum
Free Weekend Walks are public tours with a guide who highlights the Arboretum’s plant collections, seasonal beauty, and history. Weekend Walks are offered January through November. No pre-registration necessary. Meet at the Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Dr. East Seattle, WA 98112.
Saturday family tours, 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, February-June, 1-2:30pm: Bring the whole family for an hour and half themed walk, with stops along the way for games, hands-on activities, and learning geared toward children (2-12 years old) and their caregivers.
Sunday tours, Sundays, January through November, 1-2:30pm: Tours are tailored for an adult audience, and the topic changes monthly.
No preregistration necessary. For dates, times, and topics for the Weekend Walks, and the occasional cancellation, visit the Arboretum calendar before you head out.
Free tram tours at Washington Park Arboretum
First Thursday Tram Tour, 1st Thursday of each month, 11am-12pm: The tram is a great way to get around the Arboretum, especially for those with limited mobility. Every month they offer a free tram tour on the first Thursday, which will feature seasonal highlights, new plantings, Arboretum history and educational programs.
The tram offers riders the chance to travel from the Graham Visitors Center to the Pacific Connections Garden in less time and with more comfort, and allows visitors with limited mobility to see more of the Arboretum. The tram is covered, but is open-air and does not have a heater, so riders will want to bundle up for tours in winter!
Tram tours are free, but you must reserve a seat. Online registration for each month’s tour will open approximately one month in advance. Reserve your seat.
Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle, WA 98112