WillhiteWeb.com - Puget Sound Parks
Pritchard Beach Park
Pritchard Island Beach Park in the Seward Park - Rainier Beach area is a nice little retreat if you wanted to cool off on a hot day. There isnít much of a beach but more like a paved step into the water. In summer, when lifeguards are on duty, there is a floating dock in the lake with diving boards. Grass fields above the shoreline offer plenty of room to lay out and enjoy the quiet park, looking across Lake Washington to Mercer Island and distant mountains. The Pritchard Island Beach Bathhouse is also available for community gatherings, family reunions, or weddings. At the south end of the park is the Pritchard Wetlands. There is a gravel path from the parking area that travels through the marshy terrain 5 minutes to XX street. All the plants in Pritchard Wetland are native to western Washington wetlands. Look for Red-osier dogwood, fawn lilies, and Western red cedar saplings thanks to a local group called the Friends of Pritchard Beach.
The history according to Brandt Morgan's Enjoying Seattle's Parks: Before Lake Washington was lowered nine feet by the opening of the Ship Canal, there used to be an island south of the beach where the land now bulges out into the bay. The marshland between the island and the shore was called Dunlap Slough, The island itself first belonged to A. B. Youngs, who sold it to an Englishman named Alfred J. Prichard - hence the name, Pritchard's Island. Pritchard spanned the slough with a footbridge and developed the island into an attractive forest estate. Before the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the Olmsted Brothers recommended that the island and its environs be acquired to enhance the new Lake Washington Boulevard. By 1910, the year after the Exposition, the area had become so popular that a petition was flooded with names calling for construction of a bathing beach. The opening of the Ship Canal in 1917 drained Dunlap Slough, leaving more land for park nursery development and connecting Pritchard's Island to the mainland.
8400 55th Ave. S
Trailhead at S Cloverdale Street
Trail drawn in blue
Seward Park to the north
Pritchard Wetlands trail
The Pritchard Island Beach Bathhouse
Lake Washington looking south
Trail to the beach from the parking lot
Mercer Island across Lake Washington
Open field above the beach
Benches along the wetlands trail