Weekend Wheeling: Tempus Puget

Burke-Gilman/Sammamish River Trail
By Kurt Frampton
  |  Gorp.com
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Why is the Burke-Gilman so great? It's safe, off limits to cars, and is fully supported with rest stops along the way.

Does it sound like biker heaven? Well, it's certainly a great way to see some of the beauty that Seattle has to offer without using a car, and is easily accessed from several places.

Named after Judge Thomas Burke and Daniel Gilman, both of whom wanted to build a transcontinental railroad north to Canada in the late 1800s, it now provides an asphalt route for bikers, walkers, in-line skaters, and even a horse now and then on the trail paralleling it on the Redmond side.

If you're staying in the Seattle area, take SR 520 East to the West Lake Sammamish Parkway exit. Turn right at the light, then take the first left to enter Marymoor Park. The Sammamish River Trail begins at the entrance to the park on the left as you enter heading north. The park offers plenty of free parking and lots of grass on which to lay your tired body after the 50-mile round-trip (approximately 25 miles one-way on this out-and back).

The trail can be busy at times, especially on sunny weekends. Be prepared to slow down for other trail users—"On your left" gets a lot of use here.

From Redmond, there are several stops you can make including the Red Hook Brewery, the Chateau St. Michelle winery, and various parks. On the way back toward Redmond in the evening, you'll get breathtaking views of Mount Rainier.

On through Blythe Park outside of Bothell, you'll find a great park and different sorts of birds and wildlife. Roosters commonly cross the trail, giving a crow that sounds more like a siren. Here the Sammamish River Trail ends and the Burke-Gilman Trail begins.

Tracy Owen Station, or "Log Boom Park" as it is called, is more or less the midpoint on the out-and-back. If you're feeling a little tired, you may want to turn around here or just sit back and watch jet skiers and boaters skim across magnificent Lake Washington.

You want to keep going? Okay, keep riding toward Matthews Beach and keep the lake views coming. You'll get a shot of what some folks here get to look at each and every day from their waterside homes.

From Matthews Beach to Gas Works Park, you cross through the south edge of University District (named for its proximity to the University of Washington) and will have to ride on a few non-trails and under a major overpass before reaching Gas Works.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 9 Nov 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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