Family Weekender: Seattle

Paddling Lake Washington
Go Guide: St. Edwards State Park  

Activities: Canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, wildlife viewing.
Age Levels: All ages, though kids over 10 likely would enjoy paddling themselves.
Hours from Seattle: About = hour.

Getting There: From Bothell, drive 2 miles west on State Route 522 to the junction with 68th Avenue NE. Turn left (south) onto 68th and drive 1.5 miles (noting that the name of the street changes to Juanita Drive NE) to the park entrance.
Reference: Kayaking Puget Sound, the San Juans and Gulf Island: 45 Trips on the Northwest's Inland Waters by Randle Washburne (The Mountaineers Books, 1-800-553-4453).
Contact: The Washington State Department of Parks and Recreation Department, 7150 Cleanwater Lane, Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650.
Extra Treats: With great swimming along the route, cast a line off your stern to 'troll' for big trout, or watch the migratory waterfowl who pass through this in fall and winter, and who sometimes stop to spend the winter.


From the park, the best route for a quiet day on the water is to head north along the lakeshore. This keeps you in the relatively sheltered north end of mammoth Lake Washington and also offers plenty of scenery and variety.

There's a good half mile of shoreline within the park to practice your stroke if you are a novice paddler, and beyond the park, you can cruise 4.5 miles (one way) along the shore, passing some beautiful old residential neighborhoods and wooded areas, to the mouth of the Sammamish River.

The river links Lake Washington with Lake Sammamish, so if your family includes serious paddlers who want a good workout, head up the river and stroke your way to the second lake. You'll pop out into Lake Sammamish at Marymoor Park after 20 miles of upstream paddling (if you attempt this, plan to have someone pick you up at Marymoor).

But only extremists will try that feat.

Better to dip into the mouth of the river to get a taste of what paddling against the current is like, then head back south along the shoreline toward Saint Edwards Park.

Or, if you want to extend your trip, continue around the northern end of the lake and head south along the opposite shore. You'll pass Sheridan Beach and skirt the waterfront of Lake City before you come opposite Saint Edwards. A strong stroke will get you across the open water of the lake and deposit you back at your car.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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