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South Ship Canal Trail

Puget Sound and Islands > Seattle-Tacoma Area
47.6556, -122.3836 Map & Directions
3.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
103 feet
Highest Point
40 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
The Fremont Bridge from the South Ship Canal Trail. Photo by Erik Morgenstern. Full-size image
  • Wildlife
  • Lakes
  • Coast

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A paved walkway follows an abandoned railroad grade trail along the Seattle Ship Canal with views of the water and extensive Ballard maritime industry. Continue reading

2.00 out of 5

Hiking South Ship Canal Trail

A paved walkway follows an abandoned railroad grade trail along the Seattle Ship Canal with views of the water and extensive Ballard maritime industry.

The trail route from east to west starts under the south end of the Fremont Bridge and runs west mostly along the water following an abandoned railroad grade. The trail surface is traditional urban paved asphalt with gravel side sections in many areas.

The eastern portion of the trail is more industrial, flanked on both sides by marine industries in some parts and ending right in front of the large Interbay Burlington Northern Sante Fe railroad facilities just south of the large Fishermen's Terminal marina. 

West Ewing Park offers nice direct views of the cut about halfway along the route, and there are several pocket parks offering water access even in the more industrial western half. South Ship Canal is also a nice alternative to the much busier Burke Gilman trail that runs along the north side of the cut. 

Other Useful Info: The east end of the trail connects right to the Chehiasud Loop giving easy access to the University District and south to the south Lake Union area. The west end of the trail ends right across the street from Fishermen's Terminal and nice marine views. Additionally, the Hiram Chittenden locks are an easy 10 minute walk up 21st Ave which then turns into W Commodore Way.  There are no restroom facilities along the trail. 

Hike Description Written by
Erik Morgenstern, WTA Correspondent

South Ship Canal Trail

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.6556, -122.3836 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee


WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Driving Directions

The trail is accessible along its entire length, though parking is the easiest at the west end in the Fishermen's Terminal complex.

From either north or southbound 15th Ave W take the W Emerson Pl/W Nickerson St exit, (the first just south of the Ballard Bridge) and head west down W Emerson Pl about an eighth of a mile to the Fishermen's Terminal access road on your right (north side).

Note: the trail is unmarked on this end, but follow the sidewalk back along the north side of W Emerson St. until the trail angles off to the north just before the railroad tracks and 15th Ave W.

take transit

This trailhead is accessible by bus! Plan your visit by bus using TOTAGO, or consult the schedule for King County Metro route number 31/32.

More Hike Details


Puget Sound and Islands > Seattle-Tacoma Area

Seattle Department of Transportation

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South Ship Canal Trail

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