Outdoor Seattle

How to Make Good Health Possible At Bargain Prices: Biking-Walking the East Lake Sammamish Trail

How to Make Good Health Possible At Bargain Prices: Biking-Walking the East Lake Sammamish Trail

East Lake Sammamish Trail

Photo Compliments of King County Parks

The East Lake Sammamish Trail (map) is a mostly paved, 10 foot across, 15.21 mile recreational rail trail (there and back) in King County, Washington that runs along Lake Sammamish from Marymoor Park in Redmond, through Sammamish, to Gilman Boulevard in Issaquah…You will absolutely revel in the gorgeous lake views as you ride.

This wonderful trail can connect you to the Issaquah-Preston Trail, the Sammamish River Trail, and the Burke Gillman Trail. If you go from Issaquah to Puget Sound it is quite easy to get over 100 miles on paved trails that do not share space with cars.

Trail Overview-What to Expect

The East Lake Sammamish Trail is a link in the Mountains to Sound Greenway (1.5 million–acre landscape stretching from Seattle to Central Washington). The trail follows the old bed of the Lake Shore and Eastern Railway, whose line along the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish aided in the development of Seattle during the late 1800s.

The trail stretches out through three suburban cities (Issaquah, Sammamish, Redmond) granting access to the shores of Lake Sammamish at the newly constructed landing. Currently, the trail consists of a total of approximately 6 miles of paved trail, located at either end of the trail, with crushed rock and stone making up the middle sections (plans are under way for these sections to be paved by 2017).

The trail on the north end begins at the edge of Marymoor Park. There is a spur that delivers you through the park to the Sammamish River Trail, which then links to the Burke-Gilman Trail stretching into Seattle. Bypassing the spur to Marymoor, head 1.2 miles along the trail to Sammamish Landing, a lovely waterfront park (with a restroom-rustic) where you can swim, fish, picnic, or stretch out on the grass. If you take the dirt track below the park gazebo, you’ll find pocket beaches.

The trail is a tree-lined corridor that runs above lakefront homes and below the mostly muffled sounds of East Lake Sammamish Parkway NE, with views of the hills across the lake. The paved trail gives way to a 4.8-mile journey on crushed rock (the center portion of the trail) that well compacted and easily ridable. An uphill spur leads to a lot and portable restroom at mile 4.8 (destined to become the fully civilized Inglewood trailhead as development progresses).

The paved trail reappears at SE 43rd Way as you parallel a very busy four-lane road. Just before the trail ends across from Gilman Village—an Issaquah retail area comprising historical homes and Issaquah Creek. You will find interesting restaurants to give your day and little added interest. If you continue east, you’ll intersect with the Issaquah-Preston Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

Redmond Trail Head

To reach the Redmond trailhead from Interstate 405, you should take Exit 14. Follow State Route 520 eastbound for close to 5.5 miles, and take the SR 202/Redmond Way exit. Turn right at the light onto Redmond Way, and proceed 0.3 mile. Turn right at the first light, NE 70th Street, and find the parking lot which will be on your left adjacent to a shopping center.

Issaquah Trailhead

To reach the Issaquah trailhead, you should take I-90 to Exit 17. Follow the ramp to the right. Head south on Front Street N., and go just about 0.3 mile. Turn right onto NW Gilman Boulevard. After 0.3 mile, turn right onto the narrow street between the trail and the red caboose. Do not park at the boat launch at SE 43rd Way.

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