Climb Seattle's Volunteer Park Water Tower to the Observatory At The Top
You Won't See This View From The Car
Driving in on the Main Entrance, at the south side of Volunteer Park you might miss the observation tower that houses a city water tank, although you're heading right towards the highrise dark red brick structure.
Turning right onto the circular drive one may pass cars parked at the curb, only turning right at the far side of the tower, to find a parking space on the boulevard that runs north and south across the length of Volunteer Park.
Tower climbers can park in any vacant spot, but many leave their cars on the entrance circle line. That way they can get a ready start to the Tower climb.
I'd been there many times, before I even saw that the brick walled building was actually a high tower. No signs pointed it out to drivers, and once parked along the wide central lane my attention always turned to another of the park's main attractions.
This view is from the far edge of the lawn on the opposite side of the tower from the main entrance. It is the only clear view of the building and one that isn't available in any other way than walking across the large grassy area that sits across the exit lanes. It's no wonder I hadn't seen the tower because the day I took the picture was the only time I walked in that area of the park.
LENSMASTERS --- Earn Points on Quizzes at the Bottom
ALL Photographs Â© 2013 by Leslie Sinclair
Tower Originally Was Very Visible Feature
Volunteer Park Poster Trees
Part of the charm of the park for me are all the gorgeous trees.
Get the Perspective On Seattle's Volunteer Park's Layout From 100-yr Old Drawing
North lies to the Right, East at bottom, South at Left, and West at top if drawing. One enters the park from the South by heading straight on towards the Water Tower, then circling right around to the North side and turning right into the main central drive.
To exit, one can reverse this drive and complete the loop, exiting back at the South Entrance, or leave at 9 o'clock on the loop outside the Conservatory.
The large slightly rounded shape bounded by multiple lines, on the upper left describes the open water reservoir.
Photos Below Taken During a Tower Climb
Start of Path to Tower
Plants are lush with Spring blooms, secluding this opening to the curving inclined path to the Tower entrance.
Trees and Bushes Screen Tower
On the path from the circular drive, these trees block the view from the Tower hill into the main body of the park, and prevent a hiker from being seen.
Main Tower Entrance With Massive Trim
Two doorways open up into two stairways that curve up the sides of the tower. This is the main formal portal, opposite the one I climbed.
First Sight of Stairs
I've lightened this photo some so the reader can get a feel for the structure of the graceful stairway, but it's actually quite a bit darker in there, as shown in some of the other shots.
ALL Photographs Â© 2013 by Leslie Sinclair
Stairs Continue From Landing to Landing
On my first climb I only did these two sections, not knowing how many more sets of stairs awaited me.
Returning Down the Last Flight of Stairs - on my first climb
Elevators play havoc with leg muscles when we let them raise us from floor to floor. The Observation Tower lacks an elevator and since I wanted to resume a former hiking habit I determined to return soon to climb to the top. This trip, the bottom couldn't come any too soon.
Fiercly Guarded Window Scene on Stairway
Climbers are tightly confined in the stairway by these interesting old forged iron fences. Puget Sound is visible in the distance.
Experience The Building
Situated as it is
behind lush vines
and grand evergreens
the view outside
A Graceful Glimpse of The Observation Floor
Everything about the climb inside this building puts the focus on the movement upwards to the expansive yet sedate loft above the water tank.
A Look Back at the Above Stairway Entrance to the Top
At the top room one has a feeling of expansiveness and peace. I shared the observation perch with a few other people but the only sounds were from the birds outside. It was a refreshing opportunity for contemplation.
West Northwest Part of Observation Space
Northwest Part of Observation Space
The stairs are to the immediate left.
North Part of Observation Space
East Part of Observation Space - Water Tank Caged in Like A Bird
Space Needle Captured in Western Window
View Through The Window Bars
This view is to the West, slightly South, showing downtown Seattle more clearly.
One of Several Informative Posters at Tower's Top
Another View From Above Where The Tower Was Built
Get a real feel for the foundation of the whole park from this view looking towards the entrance. The Observation Tower was built on the large dark circle in the middle of the traffic circle.
That's the city water reservoir to the left, the walk to the future art museum on the right, and the boulevard leads from the entrance circle back to the turnaround loop in front of the Conservatory.
Maybe You're Craving a Spiral Staircase Masterpiece?
This spiral staircase is a masterpiece made by craftsmen with wood.
Takes you up a beautiful 16' spiral in comfort and safety. One floor, or two floors - that is your choice.
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Above the caged water tank one's gaze is lifted to the airy looking geometric roof support structure.