In Saint Edward State Park, walks along the undeveloped lake shore are peaceful and give the visitor many opportunities for nature study, including the chance to see bald eagles, otters, and other animals. The park also has two sites suitable for weddings and other special events.
Saint Edward State Park is a 316-acre (128 ha) park in Kenmore, Washington and Kirkland, Washington. It is part of the Washington State Park System.
A series of trails runs through the park for bicyclists and hikers.
The forest canopy is primarily made up of the Coast Douglas-fir, Western Redcedar, Bigleaf Maple, Pacific Madrone and Western Hemlock.
Its dense carpet includes many varieties of fern (mainly Western Sword Fern), shrubs and moss.
It is flanked on the west by 3,000 feet of undeveloped beach on Lake Washington. Access to waterfront from the shore is by trail only. There is no vehicle access to the beach, which is undeveloped and unguarded.
There are 25 miles of trails in this park. Many trails are open to mountain bikes and they are a very popular activity within Saint Edward State Park. However, several of the trails are open to hiking only and bikes are strictly prohibited on these trails. There are horse trails in the Holmes Point area. Check with the park office or kiosk for trail maps and information.
The park surrounds the Saint Thomas Center, which houses Bastyr University.
The park also has two sites suitable for weddings and other special events that are very popular and must be reserved months in advance of the event.
Activities in the Park
- Fishing (freshwater)
- Personal watercraft use
- Water skiing
- A big toy playground is popular with kids. The playground was built by the community for the community and completely funded by donations from the community.
- Picnicking, hiking, soccer, mountain biking, fishing, bicycling, swimming, bird watching, softball, and horse trails can be found in the Holmes Point area.
- Access to waterfront from the shore is by trail only. There is no vehicle access to the beach, which is undeveloped and unguarded.
- There are many trails open to mountain biking and is a very popular activity within Saint Edward State Park. Remember that several of the trails are open to hiking only and bikes are strictly prohibited on these trails. Check with the park office or kiosk for trail maps and information.
- A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information, or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
Picnic & Day-Use Facilities
Saint Edward State Park is extremely popular for special events, weddings, and family picnics. To ensure your family / group can have your event / picnic on the date you select, reservations are strongly recommended.
Regardless of the size of your group, a Special Activity Recreation Permit may be required. To make a reservation or to obtain a Special Activity Recreation Permit for your event, please call the park manager at 425-823-2992.
Even though the park offers first-come, first-served picnic tables, if the park has reached its capacity level with reservations, first-come, first-served tables will not be available.
Also, because of limited parking and to help save resources, visitors are strongly encouraged to carpool.
The park offers five unsheltered picnic areas for rental to groups. Each site accommodates at least 150 people with picnic tables and stand-up style grills. The east and west picnic sites have a ball field with their areas. The north picnic area has an open play field and horseshoe pits. The south picnic site has a beach-style volleyball area with a net and is very close to the playground. There are 20-by-20-feet and 10-by-20-feet canopies, tables, chairs, and portable heater rentals available for outdoor picnics. Extra parking may be set up for events in advance. Please call the park manager for details at 425-823-2992.
The park provides two rentable day-use heritage places: the Grotto and the Grand Dining Hall.
The Grotto is a secluded garden alcove that lends itself well to intimate ceremonies and services. The capacity is 120 people. Water and electricity are not available at the site. Tables, chairs, outdoor heaters, and 20-by-20-feet or 10-by-20-feet canopies are available to rent for an additional fee.
The Grotto is a charming garden alcove that was used by priests for prayer and meditation, surrounded by woods with many plant, bird and animal species, plus expansive lawns and trails leading to Lake Washington. It’s the perfect place for an intimate wedding or memorial services. It can also be rented with the Grand Dining Hall.
The Grotto can accommodate up to 120 guests.
Cost: $1,070 daily plus tax or Grotto and Grand Dining Hall, $1,285 daily plus tax. Tables, chairs and a freestanding canopy are available for an additional fee.
To make a reservation call (425) 823-2992. Reservations are accepted up to 11 months in advance. Reservable 10 a.m. to dusk. A non-refundable reservation fee applies.
The Grand Dining Hall
The Grand Dining Hall, within the first floor of the Seminary Building, is an ideal setting for special events and conferences of up to 50 people. Facilities include an expansive dance floor. Tables and chairs can be rented for an additional fee. Water and electricity are provided, but cooking appliances and catering must be arranged with an outside vendor. The park does not provide this service.
The Grand Dining Hall has floor-to-ceiling arched windows and glass chandeliers, overlooking the park grounds on Lake Washington. Trails lead to shore of Lake Washington and nearby sports fields. It once served as the seminary facility for the Sulpician Order of Priests. It can also be rented with the Grotto.
Average Cost: $441.00 for the Grand Dining Hall daily plus tax. The rate for the Grotto and Grand Dining Hall is $1,285 daily plus tax.
Rates for both heritage places vary with size of the group. To make reservations call 425-823-2992. Reservations are accepted up to 11 months in advance. Reservable 10 a.m. to dusk. Full fee required to reserve date. A non-refundable reservation fee applies.
Saint Edward Seminary
Before becoming a Catholic seminary and later a state park, the area was logged in the 19th century and again in the 1920s.
From the 1920s until 1977, the land on which Saint Edward State Park sits was owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle. From 1931, it was developed and used for a seminary by the Sulpician Order.
The St. Edward Seminary was constructed in 1931, followed in 1958 by the Saint Thomas Seminary, and pool in 1969. Due to declining enrollments, the seminaries closed in 1977.
Saint Edward Seminary was listed on the Washington State Heritage Register in 1997 and added in April 2007 to the National Register of Historic Places.
This large, historic building has fallen into disrepair in recent years. It is not currently accessible to the public except by special arrangement, like renting the refectory for special events.
Most of the land was sold to the state of Washington, with the support of then-governor Dixy Lee Ray.
The remainder of the land, which includes the Saint Thomas Seminary (now Saint Thomas Center) continued under the ownership of the archdiocese until November 2005, when its tenant, Bastyr University, completed their purchase of the property.
The gymnasium and an outdoor stone sanctuary (“the Grotto”) both date from the original 1930s construction period. A baseball field and a soccer field lay south of the seminary building.
The park boasts the largest children’s playground in the state, built primarily by local volunteers in 2003. It was recently named one of the Top 5 playgrounds in Washington State.
Dogs are allowed at Saint Edward State Park but state law requires that they be on a physical leash (8 feet or less) at all times.
The park is day-use only, and no camping is permitted. This park is equipped with an automated pay station for visitors to purchase a one-day pass or an annual Discover Pass. You can purchase an annual pass online.