March 4

Lakeside Stroll

The Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop is perfect for running, walking, and sightseeing.

It’s fitting that heart-shaped Lake Union is the natural pulse of Seattle and at the near geographic center of the city. Carved by the receding Vashon Glacier nearly 14,000 years ago, the lake was called “meman harishu,” or Little Lake by the Duwamish people who inhabited the area.

The Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop, named for a late-19th century member of the Duwamish, encircles the entirety of the lake, and rounds out to a neat 10K distance. The path is regularly used by runners and walkers.

Jogger on a bridge over South Lake Union.

Use the area south of MOHAI and The Center for Wooden Boats as your starting point. Running the whole 10K loop will take you all the way around Lake Union, over the University Bridge, past Gasworks Park, Fremont Bridge, under the Aurora Bridge, and back again.

If you want to take portions of the loop, head west for views of take offs and landings of Kenmore Air seaplanes plus plenty of sailboats and other watercraft. This direction is mostly flat, so it’s great for runners or walkers who are looking for a more casual route. Do note that this side of the lake tends to get a bit busier with car traffic along Westlake Avenue North.

Kenmore Air float plane taking off on South Lake Union.

The eastern direction of the loop offers a bit more of the neighborhood’s bygone era, with newer buildings mixed in with businesses like the Lake Union Dry Dock Company, which has been in operation since 1919. This part of the loop also has closer access to the shoreline in certain areas, which offers some excellent opportunities to rest and watch waterfowl or the occasional otter poking at the lake’s nooks and crannies. Additional sights include charming pocket parks and quite a few houseboats dotting the shoreline. Expect a slight incline for a good portion of the eastern part of the loop, but this section offers a quieter environment with a respite from the car traffic that comes with running or walking along Westlake Avenue North.

Want to level up your running (or walking)? The 12th annual Lake Union 10K isn’t until August 14, but it’s never too early to start training for a race. Participants will receive medals, swag, and will enjoy a pancake breakfast provided by race partner Portage Bay Café. Check out the race website and watch for news about registration.

Story & photographs by Ethan Chung.


Meman Harishu

aka little lake – nickname given by the Duwamish