Follow the trails and tackle the hikes, and you’ll experience stellar scenery while achieving your exercise quota for the day and bonding with family and friends.
From the Sammamish River Regional Trail in Bothell all the way to Redmond, the East Lake Sammamish Trail from Redmond to Issaquah and key spots like the Issaquah Alps, Mount Si and Mailbox Peak near North Bend, local adventurers have plenty of places to spend their days venturing about and perhaps becoming inspired by nature.
In the hiking realm, Washington Trails Association magazine editor Jessi Loerch suggests that people “do their research so you know what to expect.” The WTA’s website at www.wta.org features a hike finder along with a mobile app and a trip report section so people will know the status of trails from recent hikers.
Loerch offered a top-10 to-do list for hikers before they set off on their treks. People should bring: navigation like a map and compass; lots of water to stay hydrated; food, since hiking makes you hungry and you never know how long hikes will take; rain gear because weather changes quickly; a fire starter like a lighter or waterproof matches; a first-aid kit; tools such as a knife; a head lamp and extra batteries for illumination; sun protection like glasses and sun screen; and shelter like a space blanket or tarp.
A key component to the hiking scene is Trailhead Direct, which is a pilot project started last year through a partnership between King County Parks and Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation.
“The idea is to get more people out on the trails but with fewer car trips,” Loerch said.
The three routes on tap are Mount Si, Mailbox Peak and the Issaquah Alps. Mount Si is a popular trail with stunning views, a climbing gain of 3,150 feet and an eight-mile round trip. Mailbox Peak is a popular, challenging hike with nice views that is geared toward backpackers with experience under their belts. The Issaquah Alps features several trails that are both challenging and family friendly.
For more route information and pick-up/drop-off times in Bellevue, Issaquah and North Bend, visit https://trailheaddirect.wordpress.com/
Here’s more top trails and parks on the Eastside:
• The Mercer Slough Nature Park is a wildland tract that offers hiking areas, a canoe trail and more at 1625 118th Ave. SE in Bellevue.
• Weowna Park Trails is an old-growth forest area offering lake views and a 2.5-mile trail along a creek with waterfalls and pools at 565 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE in Bellevue.
• The Cross Kirkland Corridor is a 5.75-mile abandoned rail line that transverses Kirkland from south Kirkland to Totem Lake connecting eight city neighborhoods and several parks.
• Bridle Trails State Park in Kirkland offers 482 forested acres with 28 miles of equestrian and pedestrian trails at 5300 116th Ave. NW.
• The 3.1-mile Redmond/Puget Power Trail links the Sammamish River Trail to Farrel McWhirter Park.
• The 15-mile Tolt Pipeline Trail extends from the the Sammamish River Trail south of Woodinville to Snoqualmie Valley Road over the Tolt Pipeline corridor.