Sammamish River Trail
Hike description: Following its namesake river, the Sammamish River Trail offers a gentle paved tour of parks between Redmond and Bothell.
Starting at Marymoor Park in Redmond and finishing at Bothell’s Blythe Park, the trail also visits at least five other small parks, allowing ample opportunities to play or rest.
The wide paved trail is open to nonmotorized traffic and is a favorite route for bicycle commuters. On warm days the trail can get so busy that cyclists might find it faster (and safer) to use nearby streets. But with the arrival of fall, trail traffic is diminished, making it an ideal time to visit by bike.
While the trail travels close to businesses and busy cities, it offers a peaceful escape from these distractions. Watch birds play near the river and leaves fall from trees.
It’s easy to want to keep going after a trip on this trail, and that is an option. On the east side of Marymoor Park, find a paved section of the East Sammamish Trail where you can pedal along Lake Sammamish and past multimillion dollar homes (and one yurt).
In Bothel, hook up with the Burke-Gilman Trail and pedal all the way to Ballard’s Golden Gardens Park (a 65-mile trip) or just make the short trip to Kenmore’s 192 Brewing Co. for a trail-side lunch. The Holt Pipeline Trail (unpaved) and other trails are also easily accessible from the Sammamish River Trail.
Directions: From Interstate 405 just north of Bellevue, head east on state Route 520 east and exit on Lake Sammamish Parkway to reach Redmond’s Marymoor Park. The southern end of the trail starts at the park, where there is ample parking.
Difficulty rating: 2 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
Miles round trip: 21 round trip, but route can be shortened or extended.
Elevation gain: 250 feet.
Best time of the year: Year-round.
Map: Trail maps are available for free download at kingcounty.gov.
Pass: $1 to park at Marymoor Park.
Also: Several wineries (Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia) and a brewery (Redhook Ale) are a short distance from the trail. Find restroom facilities at Marymoor Park and along the trail. Horses are allowed between Marymoor Park and Northeast 175th Street in Woodinville, and there’s a separate soft-surface equestrian trail. Most of the trail meets ADA requirements, but the King County website says short sections in Redmond and Bothell don’t meet trail grade standards. The trail is used for the start of the annual Red-Bell 100 bike ride, which travels from Redmond to Bellingham each June. Dogs must be on leashes and cleaned up after. Marymoor Park has a large off-leash dog park. There are multiple geocaches hidden along this route. For more information, visit geocaching.com.