Piper's Creek Watershed

A raccoon discovers a chum salmon on the banks of Piper's Creek in Carkeek Park. Photo by Catherine Anstett.

The Piper's Creek watershed is the third largest watershed in Seattle covering approximately 2.5 square miles and draining a total of 1,835 acres into Puget Sound. The main stem channel is roughly two miles in length and is contained almost entirely within the boundaries of Carkeek Park. Piper's Creek contains a number of in-stream species including coho and chum salmon (hatchery origin), sea-run and resident cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and four kinds of sculpin. The best time to see salmon is in November.

Explore the Piper's Creek watershed on your own or with your school or community group today. (See a list of recreational and volunteer opportunities below.) In addition to being a wonderful place to visit both for the excitement of the Greenwood business district and the calm of Carkeek Park, the wider watershed is home to a number of the City of Seattle's award-winning green stormwater infrastructure projects and residential-scale demonstrations such as the original SEA Streets, the Broadview Green Grid, and the Carkeek Park Environmental Learning Center around which are a rain garden, rain barrels, and more.

Watershed tour information

  • Piper's Creek watershed and Green Stormwater Infrastructure Tours – Available free of charge to groups of 8 or larger. Please call (206) 733-9697 or email bill.malatinsky@seattle.gov to schedule.
  • Urban Watershed Field Trips – Each fall and spring, Seattle Public Utilities sponsors 1.5-hour, naturalist-led field experiences at Carkeek and other City parks to qualified Seattle-based K-6 teachers. Email beth.miller @seattle.gov for details.

Want to learn more?

Piper's Creek is one of approximately 10,000 streams that flow into Puget Sound. Why is that important? Because you can help reduce the impacts of polluted runoff.

  • Learn more about Piper's Creek from the City of Seattle's State of the Waters Report (pdf).
  • Watch a 29-minute film - Lost and (Puget) Sound: How We Followed The Rain And Found Our Voice is designed for the classroom, but important for all Puget Sounders looking for an entertaining way to learn about the connection between one's local waterways and Puget Sound. An official selection of the Colorado Environmental Film Fest.
  • Explore Piper's Creek's relationship to Puget Sound on the Puget Sound Starts Here website.
  • Watch an aerial drone video of a chum salmon swimming in Piper's Creek.
  • Stencil a storm drain.
  • Get dirty. Take action. Connect with a community / volunteer group based at Carkeek Park in the Piper's Creek watershed.
    • Friends of Piper Orchard – A volunteer group dedicated to the care of historic Piper Orchard in Carkeek Park.
    • Carkeek Watershed Community Action Project – The Piper's Creek watershed's original advocacy group operates the salmon imprint pond and annual salmon survey among other educational activities. Visit www.carkeekwatershed.org for details and up-to-date contacts.
    • Carkeek Park Salmon Stewards - Learn interpretive skills and teach visitors about the Piper's Creek salmon run each fall. Training in late October. Service dates on weekends from early November - early December.
    • Carkeek Streams, Trails, and Restoration Stewards (STARS) – Meet for restoration projects in Carkeek Park on the 3rd Saturday of every month. Email carkeektrails@gmail.com or call (206) 362-2980.
    • Weekday Workers – You can volunteer for restoration projects in Carkeek Park during the week. Email  l.j.mcelvain@gmail.com or call (206) 782-7617.
    • Friends of Llandover Woods – Forest restoration volunteers in Llandover Woods meet on the 2nd Sunday of each month.
    • Carkeek Park Advisory Council – Steering committee for Carkeek Park meeting on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. Visit www.carkeekpark.org for more info.
    • Annual Events – The Festival of Fruit (October), Salmon Celebration (Sunday before Thanksgiving), Salmon watching (late October - early December).