Bitter Lake (Seattle)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
For the neighborhood, see Bitter Lake, Seattle.
Bitter Lake
Bitter Lake.jpg
Location of Bitter Lake in Washington, USA.
Location of Bitter Lake in Washington, USA.
Bitter Lake
Location of Bitter Lake in Washington, USA.
Location of Bitter Lake in Washington, USA.
Bitter Lake
LocationNorthwest Seattle, Washington
Coordinates47°43′36″N 122°21′08″W / 47.72667°N 122.35222°W / 47.72667; -122.35222 (Bitter Lake)Coordinates: 47°43′36″N 122°21′08″W / 47.72667°N 122.35222°W / 47.72667; -122.35222 (Bitter Lake)
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area19 acres (7.7 ha)
Average depth16 ft (4.9 m)
Max. depth31 ft (9.4 m)

Bitter Lake is a small lake in northwest Seattle, Washington, USA.

The lake covers 19 acres (77,000 m2), with a mean depth of 16 feet (4.9 m) and a maximum depth of 31 feet (9.4 m). Until 1913, a sawmill was located at its southwest corner. Tannic acid from logs dumped into the lake gave its water a bitter taste and the lake itself a name.[1] The Duwamish called the lake "Blackcaps on the Sides" (Lushootseed: cHálqWadee), denoting the blackcap (Rubus leucodermis) plants that grew along the shores.[2]

It is a glacial lake with its basin having been dug 15,000 years ago by the Puget Lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, which also created Lake Washington, Union, Green, and Haller Lakes.[citation needed]

The Bitter Monster is a local myth describing a snake like sea monster rumored to inhabit Bitter Lake. The myth has never been substantiated and no creature has been proven to exist. No direct physical evidence (hair, scat, tissue) of such a creature has ever been discovered.

The Seattle-to-Everett Interurban streetcar reached the lake in 1906, and the Bitter Lake neighborhood was annexed by Seattle in 1954.[citation needed]

The lake is situated between Greenwood Avenue North to the west, Linden Avenue North to the east, North 137th Street to the north, and North 130th Street to the south. Bitter Lake drains through a piped outlet at its southeast end that eventually flows into Lake Union.[3]


  1. ^ "City of Seattle: State of the Waters 2007" (PDF). p. 25.
  2. ^ Thrush, Coll (2007). Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place. University of Washington Press. p. 220. ISBN 0-295-98700-6.
  3. ^ "City of Seattle: State of the Waters 2007" (PDF). p. 27.