Submitted by Kathie Weibel, Rainier Beach Community Club
Deadhorse Canyon, a relatively unknown park in southeast Seattle, was one of the
”stairways” chosen for Seattle’s first stairway walk. The first stairway walk of many, we hope. On February 9th, walkers from all over the area explored Deadhorse Canyon guided by Mary Magenta, the walking ambassador for “Feet First” the group that sponsored the walk and Darrell Dobson from Friends of Deadhorse Canyon. The Deadhorse Canyon trail is a beautiful half mile loop following Taylor Creek through a wooded ravine. It is the home of many species of native plants including Douglas fir, western red cedar and other trees as well as salmon berry, snow berry, Oregon grape and red elderberry just to mention a few.
Taylor Creek is named after the original owners of the property who logged the lumber at least twice since the turn of the century. The lumber mill was at the foot of the hill where Taylor Creek meets Lake Washington. Legend has it that the name “Deadhorse Canyon” is a lumbering term. In the old days horses were used to drag the fallen trees from where they were downed to the mill. Depending upon how a tree fell and the slope of the hill it was either easy or difficult for the horse to drag the trees. Those canyons where the slope made it nearly impossible for a horse to drag the trees were called “dead horse canyons”. A less imaginative explanation for the name is that after the lumbering ended the area was allowed to go back to nature but the Taylors continued to let their horses roam the property. One day children playing found a dead horse on the property and the name “Deadhorse Canyon” stuck to this day.
In the past Taylor Creek was a spawning place for salmon. Over the last few years volunteers have restored the Deadhorse Canyon habitat by pulling out blackberries and ivy and planting native shrubs. The City of Seattle has replaced aging culverts and sewage lines and now plans to replace the one culvert that prevents salmon from moving up the Creek. The City also is in the process of daylighting the Creek into Lake Washington to make it passable for salmon.
Deadhorse Canyon located in Lakeridge on 68th just off Rainier Ave S. is open to the public during regular park hours. Friends of Deadhorse Canyon welcome volunteers on the third Saturday of every month, except August and December, 8rom 9:30-1:00 PM to help restore the canyon. Rainier Beach Community Club meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:00 at the VFW building at Pilgrim and 61st.