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Spring calls for exploring along the Burke-Gilman & Lake Sammamish Trails

  • Written by Shannon Michael

Goodbye March and nine-plus inches of rain! Hello April and forecasts for warmer, sunnier weather! We now have the incentive to tune up our bikes, get out the rollerblades, or buy a new pair of walking shoes and rediscover a true outdoor gem in our region: the Burke-Gilman and Lake Sammamish trails.

The Burke-Gilman Trail runs from Ballard to Bothell. From Bothell to Woodinville, the trail continues as the Lake Sammamish Trail as it winds through Woodinville south along the Sammamish River to Redmond.

Bicyclists on Burke-Gilman TrailA bike ride along the Burke-Gilman or Lake Sammamish trails is a perfect family activity in the spring. (Photo courtesy of King CountyThe hardest decision you may be faced with is where to start and where you want to end up. Do you want to have a hearty breakfast in Kenmore, Bothell or Woodinville before hitting the trail?

Maybe you want to plan to end up at the end of your journey enjoying a glass of wine at your favorite winery in the Hollywood District, or stop for a beer and lunch at Hollywood Tavern. With so many parks along the way, you could enjoy a picnic you’ve brought along with you to enjoy at Kenmore’s Log Boom Park or Woodinville’s Wilmot Gateway Park.

If you can’t decide because there are so many options, start by visiting www.burkegilmantrail.org, hosted by Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail. The website offers a link to a trail guide, a point-to-point distance map, and a short list of the rules for using the trail.

The trail system is relatively level, with only a few areas with minor hills, so novice riders and walkers of all abilities can find a section they can be successful using.

There are plenty of benches along the trail system to stop to take a break, and for those who find they can’t complete what they set out to cover, there are several Metro bus stops in the Woodinville-Bothell-Kenmore corridor along Bothell-Lake City Way that can help you get back close to where you started. Also located throughout the trail system are parks with access to restroom facilities.

From Kenmore’s Log Boom Park to the Hollywood Wine District south of Woodinville, the distance is about 7.4 miles one way.

If you decide to start your adventure along the north end of Lake Washington, there are several sites worth checking out. Log Boom Park sits on Lake Washington, just off 61st Ave. NE and NE 175th Street. The trail traverses through the park.

Don’t forget your camera for the next stop along the trail. Located right off the trail just north of the Kenmore Park-and-Ride is a heron rookery. From the trail, head north on 73rd Ave. NE, then turn right onto NE 181st Street.
For over 20 years, over 40 pairs of nesting herons have used the open space just north of the park-and-ride to raise new generations of herons. They start nesting in February, with the eggs taking about 30 days to hatch. About two months after hatching, viewers can spot the young herons making their first attempts to fly.

After reconnecting to the trail from the rookery, you’ll find a perfect spot to stop for a bite to eat. 192 Brewing offers a family-friendly establishment right along the trail east of 73rd Ave. NE on NE 175th St. Sharing the brewery’s space is Pipers Creek Nursery where you can browse through their extensive collection of Northwest native plants for sale.
From Kenmore to Bothell, the trail meanders along the Sammamish River and along the Wayne Golf Course before heading through Bothell’s Blyth Park. If biking with young children, the park’s playground and picnic tables provide a good resting place to stretch your legs and have a picnic lunch.

Just north of Blyth Park, trail users have the option of continuing to the end of Burke-Gilman trail near the Northshore Senior Center or taking a left onto the start of the Lake Sammamish Trail.

Through Bothell, the trail continues to hug the Sammamish River, offering users a couple of spots to detour off the trail in downtown Bothell where options range from local restaurants, bakeries, antique shops, coffeehouses, and a pub along Main Street. Trail users should use the bridge at 102nd Ave. NE to cross over SR522 to get to Main Street.
Trail users can also cross the wooden pedestrian bridge from the trail, which leads into the Park at Bothell Landing. There’s a playground for kids, the historical museum, as well as a vendor to rent a canoe or kayak which can be dropped right there into the Sammamish River during the weekends from May to September.  

From Bothell to Woodinville, the trail continues east along the Sammamish River and parallels SR522 until it turns south as it comes into Woodinville. That’s where trail users will find Wilmot Gateway Park, perfect for taking a rest stop. Another advantage of the park is the amount of free parking available at the park or just across the street at the Woodinville Sports Fields.

The trail continues south through the valley, along the river where observant trail users can spot wildlife or kayakers enjoying the river.

A perfect place to end a day on the trail is in the Hollywood District south of Woodinville. Many of the wineries and restaurants offer outdoor patio seating, perfect for cooling off after a long day’s outdoor journey.

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