Licton Springs Park
AmenitiesRestrooms Drinking fountains Grills Play Area Trails
This is a park worth seeing! Rustic, natural qualities arise from the sights and sounds of trickling streams, long grasses waving in the breeze, small ponds, and winding paths through wooded preserves. There is a play area as well as public restrooms, and the park itself is available for weddings and ceremonies.
Licton Springs was once a healing center for Native Americans, who constructed sweat lodges and bathed in the mineral waters of the springs. After pioneer David Denny built a cabin near the springs in 1870, hundreds of settlers drove for miles to immerse themselves in the spring water and in the mud.
The springs site remained a picnic area until 1935, when E. A. Jensen bought the site and built a spa. Then thousands flocked to the springs to take the waters and dunk in the thermal baths. In 1960 Seattle voters approved the site as a park, and the City bought the springs in 1961.Licton Springs still flows through the park. In addition, some discrete open creek channel sections still exist upstream of the park. Drainage/groundwater empties from a culvert into a short section of creek channel just upstream of Woodlawn Ave N (between N 100th and N 97th St.). The creek enters a culvert under Woodlawn Ave. N and daylights east of there. It flows in an open channel before entering a culvert on private property, conveyed in a culvert under N 97th St. and eventually empties into the park's northeast corner, in the wooded area. The creek flows southward through the park and eventually enters a culvert at the park's far south end along Woodlawn Ave N south of N 95th St. The creek daylights again at Pilling's Pond (duck pond at N 90th St. and Densmore Ave. N), crosses under N 90th St., and daylights along Ashworth Ave. N between N 90th St. and N 88th St. The creek enters the drainage system at N 88th St. and is piped from there on. Historically, there were two springs within the park. The larger bathing spring at the park's south end was filled with silt in the early 1960s. The smaller "iron spring" still exists today (somewhat modified) in the northwest corner of the park within the wooded area. Currently groundwater and drainage from Bitter Lake and nearby feeds the creek through an extensive ditch, culvert, and stormdrain system. It is uncertain whether this was the creek's true historic source. Additional groundwater and drainage may have been rerouted in this current system configuration to Licton Spring Park and eventually to Green Lake in the 1920s or 1930s. Early plans from the 1920s show the springs only as the source of the creek that drained to Green Lake. However, plans from the 1940s and 1950s show the creek channel existing within the park and upstream of N 97th St. The creek evidently was directed to the sewer system for some time due to water-quality issues until flow was again redirected into the drainage system. Flow enters a Metro Pump Station directing water to Lake Union. Overflows from the pump station are directed to Green Lake.
Special Event Spaces
This park has a special event space that you can rent for your next gathering! Learn more on our rentals page.