The scenic Sammamish River Trail, which runs 10.9 miles from Bothell to Redmond, is a great place to bicycle, whether you’re going solo, riding with a friend or enjoying a family biking outing. Don’t have a bike? Walk or jog it. It’s enjoyable on foot, too. The trail is paved and
mostly in very good shape with plenty of things to see and do along the way. Picnic tables and benches are sprinkled along the entire route.
The trail is accessible from many places, including several of the spots described in this story. We’re going to join it near downtown Bothell and ride all the way to the east side of Marymoor Park in Redmond, nearly 22 miles roundtrip meandering through the picturesque Sammamish River Valley. Grand views are abundant, as are people on this very popular trail. On clear days, Mount Rainier and the Cascade foothills loom in the distance.
Just want to ride one way? Leave a pickup vehicle at either end and bike to it. But if you do that, I suggest you start your trip in Bothell because you’ll keep any breeze that might be blowing at your back. You also can break down this journey into chunks and just do shorter sections. Be creative.
How to get there
Our starting point is Sammamish River Park, just east of Bothell Landing. From Everett, get to the Bothell-Everett Highway and follow it toward Bothell. As you come into town, turn left at the flashing yellow light that marks NE 185th. Drive two blocks east and turn right on 102nd Avenue NE. Follow 102nd through downtown, across a bridge over the Sammamish River and turn right into the Sammamish River Park parking lot. It’s a dirt lot.
OK, let’s mount up. I’m riding my vintage Schwinn Super Sport — a near-top-of-the-line model when I bought it new back in 1971 for $160, and it’s served me well for 40 years now. It’s sturdy, heavy, has just 10 speeds and it creaks and groans, like me, when the pedals are moving.
From the parking lot, make a right onto the trail and head east. Go left by mistake and you’ll find yourself hooking up with the Burke-Gilman Trail and pedaling toward Seattle.
.7 miles | Brackett’s Landing Park
Nice place to picnic by the water. A good destination if you’re just out for a short walk or riding with children on training-wheel bikes. Here, the trail hits its only surface street stretch (about a block’s worth). The trail runs down the left side of the street. At the end of the block, the trail goes left.
.9 miles | Back to school?
The trail forks here. The left spur runs up through the Cascadia Community College-UW Bothell campus and points north. There are some nice nature walks up there, but our journey takes us to the right.
2.1 miles | Wilmot Gateway Park
Welcome to Woodinville. This is a good place to stop if you’re biking with younger children. There’s a playground, bathrooms, a drinking fountain, covered picnic tables, some park benches, sculptures and plenty of open green to toss the Frisbee. (Use the boomerang technique if you’re by yourself.)
3.9 miles | Northshore Athletic Fields
Play ball! This King County Parks complex is home to the Northshore, Woodinville, Woodinville West and North Bothell Little Leagues. There are bathrooms and a drinking fountain here. Depending on the time of year and day of the week that you ride, you can catch a game or a practice here. Or, if you packed your mitt, you can toss the ball around. When I rode past recently, a summer team was practicing.
Hungry yet? Take a short side excursion to food. From the ballfields’ parking lot, head west across the pedestrian bridge (up at the roadside) and cross the river to Willows Lodge and the Herb Farm or Barking Frog restaurants. More places to eat, including a Mexican restaurant, can be found a block up the road east of the ballfields.
5.9 miles | 60 Acres Park
Soccer, soccer and more soccer. Youth teams play, practice and attend camps here year-round. There are bathrooms, a drinking fountain and some pop/water vending machines.
7.9 miles | Welcome to Redmond
For the next mile, the trail hugs a business park and the edge of downtown while still following the river. It’s a high foot traffic area, so cut your speed and enjoy this well-maintained trail section with its numerous river access spots, benches, picnic tables, outdoor exercise equipment, sculptures and attractive landscaping. Hungry yet? Take a side trip into downtown where you can find a nearby grocery store and plenty of restaurants.
8.6 miles | Luke McRedmond Landing
Nice spot to take a break, cool off and enjoy the river.
8.9 miles | Trail Fork
Keep to the left and head over the pedestrian bridge that puts you alongside Leary Way while crossing the river and looping back around onto the other bank. The right fork sends you to the Redmond Town Centre shopping area.
9.7 miles| We’re here!
This is the entrance to Marymoor Park. But don’t turnaround and head back just yet. The park offers lots of places to play and areas to explore. Continue with me across the bridge on our left and let’s check out a few in-park destinations.
9.8 miles | Trail Fork
The right fork puts you on the Marymoor Connector Trail, a quick way to get from the park’s west side to the east exit. Instead, let’s go left and meander through the park past some baseball and soccer fields and a tennis court. (Did you pack your racket?)
10.2 miles | Hungry now?
Here’s a Subway Sandwich stand along with public restrooms, shade, picnic tables and a play area.
10.6 miles | Group Health Velodrome
Washington state’s only velodrome is that stadium-like structure over there on the left. Wander over and check out the banked, 400-meter track. The Marymoor Velodrome Association holds races there. Find out more at http://velodrome.org/mva.
10.7 miles | Climbing rock
This spot is used by climbing enthusiasts to practice and train. Check it out, but it wouldn’t be wise to attempt much without the proper gear. There’s also a small playground here to the left of the rock. From here it’s just a short ride to the end of our journey. Head past the rock on its right and follow the pavement until it meets up with the Marymoor Connector Trail. Turn left and travel east. Side trip: Across the street from the junction here is the Audubon Bird Loop Trail.
10.85 miles | Edward B. Sand Memorial Airfield
End of the line for our ride today. This is home to the Marymoor R/C Club. Enthusiasts come here to fly their remote-controlled model airplanes. Sunny days and weekends are the best time to watch ’em fly.
Nice ridin’ with you. Time for me to head back.