The East Lake Sammamish Trail is now complete following 26 years of work by King County and organizations, including Cascade Bicycle Club.
We attended the grand opening celebration for the 11-mile trail, which completes the 44-mile Locks to Lakes Corridor from Seattle to Issaquah.
One of the Eastside’s most beautiful bike rides has gotten even better.
King County recently paved and opened a 3.6 mile segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, closing a gap that had existed for many years due to waterfront homeowners who had usurped the public right of way.
Now, all 11 miles of the East Lake Sammamish Trail between Redmond and Issaquah are fully paved–and amazing.
Cascade joined a grand opening ceremony on Oct. 7 where elected officials including King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Council Member Claudia Balducci, and many others spoke about the 26-year effort to complete the trail. See King County’s press release and watch their beautifully shot and informative video here.
A Trail for the People
The East Lake Sammamish Trail is among the most beautiful segments of the 44-mile paved Locks to Lake Corridor that connects Seattle to Redmond, Issaquah, and other Eastside communities.
The final 3.6-mile segment features a 12-foot-wide asphalt surface with two-foot-wide gravel shoulders on each side, plus rest areas, picnic tables, signage, a kiosk, and driveway crossings where bikes have the right of way and cars must stop.
The trail follows the old BNSF railroad along Lake Sammamish’s eastern shoreline. Completing the gap in the East Lake Sammamish Trail took decades due to the fact that King County had to go to court to get homeowners to vacate the railroad corridor right-of-way owned by the county.
Cascade has been involved in the fight to complete the trail for decades–organizing supporters, submitting testimony, speaking at public hearings, and working with King County and Eastside elected officials to overcome opposition while building public support.
Now, all the years of hard work have paid off. This lovely stretch of waterfront trail is open and available to everyone–with opportunities for long bike rides that link the East Lake Sammamish Trail to other paved regional trails.
At its southern end in Issaquah, the East Lake Sammamish trail links to King County’s Issaquah-Preston Trail that continues to the community of Preston and then to the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail.
To the north, the East Lake Sammamish Trail links up with the Marymoor Connector Trail, which connects to the Sammamish River Trail that links to the SR 520 Trail that passes over the 520 Bridge and onward to Seattle.
Or, instead of turning onto the SR 520 Trail, people can continue northward on the Sammamish River Trail to Woodinville and pedal around the top of Lake Washington to connect with the Burke-Gilman Trail, which leads all the way to Ballard and the Seattle waterfront.
A Locks to Lakes Corridor Overnighter
To check out the exciting possibilities that the completion of the East Lake Sammamish Trail offers, my wife and I rode our e-bikes from Seattle on the SR 520 Trail and stopped in Redmond to join the grand opening ceremony, where Cascade organized a bike rodeo course for kids. Cascade Ride Leaders Jeri Bernstein (below right) and Windsor Lewis-Gloy (below left) led a Free Group Ride from Issaquah to Redmond as part of the festivities.
After the ceremony, we pedaled down the East Lake Sammamish Trail, paused to enjoy waterfront views, and stopped in Issaquah. Nearly all of our journey was on paved bike trail (with just a 1.5 mile segment of roadside bike lane in Bellevue along Northup Way and NE 24th Street).
We booked a hotel room in Issaquah and spent the night near Lake Sammamish State Park, going for a sunset stroll on the park’s nature trails and grabbing a beer and dinner at Formula Brewing.
The next morning, we pedaled home. The fall foliage was vibrant along the East Lake Sammamish Trail, which was busy with trail users including people bicycling, jogging, skating, and strolling with baby carriages.
This new trail segment is the latest gap to be filled in the Leafline Trails initiative, a network with more than 500 miles of paved, non-motorized trails across King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties.
Watch the video from Cascade Ride Leader and Best Side Cycling founder Hanoch Yeung to see the newly completed East Lake Sammamish Trail and the grand opening ceremony.
If there was a competition for the Eastside’s most lovely paved trail, the East Lake Sammamish Trail would surely be a top contender. Go ride it.
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