The Greater Washington area is known for having amazing scenery, and a great way to indulge in that is the extensive network of biking and hiking trails in the area.
Local Insight from Fred Fox
The entire Seattle Metropolitan area has a wonderful and extensive system of bike and walking trails. Whether you are in Seattle, the Eastside, or the South End, there is a trail to accommodate your desire to walk or bike.
One of my most passionate activities is riding my bike – sometimes for very long distances. And these trails serve as wonderful connectors from the roads to different areas, many passing through scenic areas unreachable by car. This well-developed bicycle network consists of several major urban and regional trails that allow for nearly road-free travel to all major neighborhoods and destinations in the Puget Sound area. And in many cases public transportation is available to extend the convenience of these trails.
Just do an internet search on “Seattle area bike trails” and you will be amazed at what you find!
Biking Trails Across the Greater Seattle Region
I know many think you have to drive for hours out of the city to find a good trail, but we have a bunch of great trails in the city that vary from beginner to intermediate. And the best thing is that most of these trails connect with each other, so the fun doesn’t have to stop if you don’t want it to.
In this article, we’ll highlight some of our favorite biking trails across the Greater Seattle, Greater Eastside, and south end areas. Have a certain area you’re looking for? Just scroll down and find it… or read about all the areas for the best overview!
The I-90 Trail spans 8.8 miles across Lake Washington and connects Bellevue to Mercer Island and Seattle. It’s considered an uncommon trail be because it runs parallel to a busy freeway, but the vehicles are often hidden behind lush, landscaped barrier walls, which allows you to soak in the surrounding views and local greenery.
Further up the lake, the SR-520 Trail spans a lesser 2.7 miles and connects the Medina to the Montlake neighborhood of Seattle. The SR-520 Trail is an important piece for morning commuters, because it connects with many trails within the region’s network of walking and biking trails.
One of the best-known trails, the Burke-Gilman Trail spans 18.8 miles between Bothell to the north and Golden Gardens Park in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. A staple for recreation and fitness, the Burke-Gilman is also heavily trafficked by daily commuters, though many break off and head towards Lake Union and downtown Seattle via the Ballard Locks and Fremont Bridge.
The Interurban Trail is broken into a few segments. The first is the Everett to Seattle splice of the Interurban Trail, which runs 24 miles through Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds, and Lynnwood. Then there’s the southern segment of the Interurban Trail, which runs 18.1 miles from Tukwila to Fife. Much of the southern trail is paved and flat, making it a great trail for beginners and long-distance cycling.
Though much of the trail resembles a widened sidewalk, the Alki Trail is just as beautiful as any other on this list. This 5.5-mile trail separates the walkers from the bikes, which offers a less stressful riding (and walking) experience. One could ride the trail from the Alki Point Lighthouse, north along the water passed Alki Beach, and then south along Harbor Avenue. Once you hit the West Seattle Bridge, there’re areas of high traffic, but it continues inland.
Soos Creek Trail
The Soos Creek Trail runs north from Lake Meridian Park into Renton’s Fairwood neighborhood via the Big Soos Creek greenbelt. The entirety of the path is paved and runs through Kent’s East Hill marchland. There are minor ups and down, but the ride is pretty easy overall. From start to finish, the Soos Creek Trail is about 6 miles, but easily connects with Renton’s Cedar River Trail, which adds many more miles.
Cedar River Trail
In comparison, the Cedar River Trail is fairly lengthy at 15.7 miles. Of the 15.7 miles, the first 11 are paved, while the remainder turns to gravel as the trail winds through the forested hillside towards Maple Valley. The trail splits near Maple Valley, and you can either continue on the Cedar Creek Trail or switch over to the Green River Trail for more mileage!
Des Moines Creek Trail
Both of the previous south end trails were on the eastside of the valley, while the Des Moines Creek Trail is on the westside. The shortest trail on this compilation, this trail comes in at around 2.2 miles, and connects the south end of Seattle (just south of the SeaTac Airport) to the Puget Sound waterfront of Des Moines.
Cross Kirkland Trail
Spanning 5.8 miles from just north of NE 8th Street in Bellevue, to NE 124th Street in Kirkland, the Cross Kirkland Trail offers a scenic commuter route through many Kirkland neighborhoods, before completing its route just north of Totem Lake. Not only does the trail cross Google’s Kirkland headquarters, but it also connects “eight neighborhoods, four major business districts, more than a dozen parks, and several public schools,” according to TrailLink.com.
Redmond Central Connector, Bear Creek Trail & the Sammamish River Trail
Redmond Central Connector and the Bear Creek Trail are in the heart of downtown Redmond. The Redmond Central Connector runs from its SR-520 exchange to the east, into the Sammamish Valley and Willows Run Golf Complex. The Bear Creek Trail starts near the same SR-520 on/off ramp and runs along the Bear Creek, before diverting when the creek connects with the Sammamish River. The Bear Creek River then connects with the larger, Sammamish River Trail.
East Lake Sammamish Trail
If we’re starting from the south end, the East Lake Sammamish Trail begins off Issaquah’s NW Gilman BLVD, and runs north along 4th before merging with E Lake Sammamish PKWY SE. It runs north into Southeast Redmond and stops near Marymoor Park. Across the 11-mile trail, you’ll experience waterfront views and lush, tree-lined corridor.
North Creek Trail
The North Creek Trail runs 7.25 miles between the Sammamish River Trail at WA-522 and McCollum Pioneer Park, and connects the major cities of Bothell, Mill Creek and Everett. Some have noted it can be a little confusing, but it’s still a great route and the signage has been updated in recent years.
We all have our favorite trails and areas. Or maybe you’re like Fred Fox and enjoy areas across the entire region! What are your favorite trails to bike or hike or walk? Share your favorites in the comments below!
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