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Originally published Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 7:06 PM

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Seattle's Deadhorse Canyon is prettier than its name

Take a walk along Taylor Creek in this wooded ravine in Southeast Seattle.

Special to The Seattle Times

Location: Lakeridge Park, South Seattle

Trail length: About a half-mile each way, ending in a short loop that starts at a bench. The park land ends (and private land begins) where a small side stream crosses the trail.

Level of difficulty: Flat to gentle; muddy after rains.

Setting: This verdant north-south ravine cradles Taylor Creek and lies just off busy Rainier Avenue South. Big-leaf maples and alders dominate the forest in this 35-acre park, along with several large conifers that remained after several episodes of logging. The creek's name comes from the Taylor sawmill, which in the late 1880s was located where the creek flowed into Lake Washington, to the east of the park. The steep little valley has the colorful name of Deadhorse Canyon; several theories abound as to how the ravine got its name, including being named after a horse that lived and died in the valley. The land was donated to the city of Seattle in 1947, and the park was named after the surrounding Lakeridge neighborhood.

Highlights: The ravine has been the focus of efforts to plant native vegetation and restore salmon runs in Taylor Creek. Since 1996, thousands of trees, shrubs and other native vegetation have been planted and garbage has been removed. Part of the stream's water comes from springs in the area. Dense salmonberry thickets at the beginning of the trail testify to the moist soils.

Facilities: Restrooms on the left just after the turnoff from Rainier Avenue South.

Restrictions: Leash and scoop laws in effect. Bikes not recommended.

Directions: From Interstate 5 southbound, take Exit 158; turn left off the exit ramp onto Boeing Access Road, and turn left again to head north on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. (Heading northbound on I-5, take Exit 157, and head north on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.) In 1 mile, turn right on South Henderson Street. Turn right again in .4 miles on Rainier Avenue South, and then after 1.6 miles, turn right on 68th Avenue South. The trailhead is ahead on the left in about two blocks; be careful turning into the small parking area on this blind hairpin curve.

For more information: 206-684-4075 or 206-772-1452, or Print out a parkguide and map from

Renton-based freelancer Cathy McDonald, a trained geologist, has written about science and nature travel for more than 20 years. She's currently a travel guidebook editor and researcher at Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door. Contact her:

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