Priest Point Park

Ellis CoveSize:

314 Acres

Location:

2600 East Bay Drive NE

Park Features:

  • Picnic Areas
  • Picnic Tables
  • Picnic Shelters (Rental information)
  • Nature Trails
  • Beach Access
  • Playground
  • Basketball
  • Restrooms

Park Accessibility:

Due to the park's steep ravines, cliffs and streams, the trail system includes trail sections that exceed 10%, steps and boardwalks.  The most accessible shelter is Shelter #1 which has paved parking and an accessible route to the restroom.  The playground, adjacent parking and restroom are fully accessible.  The playship is on rubber surfacing and is accessible by a ramp.

Ellis Cove Trail:

At the heart of this 314-acre regional nature park is one mile of saltwater shoreline. Ellis Cove is tucked away inside the park and the Ellis Cove Trail further enhances access to more parkland and the views of downtown Olympia and State Capitol buildings.

Developed Facilities Map 

View Map - See this park's details

 

Park History:

The land upon which Priest Point Park sits has been used for generations by the Indigenous peoples of our region, which include the Squaxin, Nisqually, Quinault, Puyallup, Chehalis, Suquamish, and Duwamish. We thank them for the use of the land upon which our parks are established.

Priest Point Park is named for a small group of catholic missionaries, the Oblat Fathers, who came to the area in 1848. They cleared the land, planted a large garden, built a chapel, and established the St. Joseph d’Olympia mission. The Squaxin, Nisqually, Puyallup, and Snoqualmie tribes used the mission as a trading center during this time.

The mission closed in 1860 and the property lay idle for many years. A legal battle ensued as to who held claim to the land, before it was eventually resolved and a group of land investors deeded the land to the City of Olympia for $1,200 in 1905. A committee led by Elias Payn, Charle Eaton, and Theodore Brown was instrumental in securing the land. In 1916, they were also successful in acquiring the tidelands along Ellis Cove in a deed swap with the State of Washington. Leopold Schmidt then donated both structures and funds to benefit the park.

Today, this 314 acre park is the ideal spot to experience the natural beauty of the northwest. With over four miles of hiking trails, nearly two miles of saltwater shoreline, a playground, and both small and large picnic shelters, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Priest Point Park is also home to a wide variety of animals. Although not a comprehensive list, here is a listing of the animal species identified in Priest Point Park.