21 Aug 2014
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Viewfinder: A Cyclist’s Guide to the Sammamish River Trail

One of Woodinville's crowning glories is the trail that runs along the slough.

Woodinville’s late-blooming summer is the perfect time for a bike ride, and we are fortunate to have one of the best routes in the West right on our doorstep. The Sammamish River trail winds its way along the Slough for 10.9 miles from the top of Lake Washington to Redmond. 

To be clear, our trail is not the more familiar . The Sammamish River Trail is an extension of it as part of a much larger trail system.

There’s some debate as to where the Burke-Gilman becomes the Sammamish River Trail, depending on which government office you consult. It could change names at the Tracy Owen Station in Kenmore, or Blyth Park in Bothell. And the trail changes its name again at Redmond’s Marymoor Park to the East Lake Sammamish River Trail! Regardless, the collective experience of these trails is a combined 42-mile bike path through the some of the best scenery that our area has to offer. 

Woodinville’s portion of the trail offers beautiful views of the Sammamish Slough’s flora and fauna. There are numerous opportunities to hop-off the trail for good food and drink or a relaxing break.

Arriving in Woodinville from the north, the first and most welcome stop is Wilmott Gateway Park. Woodinville’s civic ‘front lawn’ provides public restrooms, picnic tables, a playground for the kids and easy access to downtown. It’s also been the start/finish line for twilight criterium bike races. 

Continuing south along the Slough, the next stop is the bridge at NE 145th St. From here you can pedal through the heart of the Woodinville Winery District to visit numerous tasting rooms, take tours and enjoy a picnic. A right turn takes you to Chateau St. Michelle, Columbia, Novelty Hill/Januik wineries and more. The lobby bar at Willows Lodge is biker-friendly and offers excellent wines and light meals. 

If your tastes lean more towards hops and yeast, Redhook’s  Forecaster’s Pub offers a great opportunity to carbo-load and indulge in fluid replacement. A much more local experience is just around the corner at the where you can park your bike next to some of the larger and louder models. 

Crossing the bridge with a left turn leads to a variety of tasting rooms; many that also offer light meals and picnic supplies. The Hollywood Vineyard retail center at the round-about hosts Tully’s for a quick jolt & wi-fi, Sora Sushi and the venerable Purple Café & Wine Bar. All are bike and biker-clothing friendly.

Continuing south brings you to the NE124th St. bridge and the South 47 Farm with tours, produce and seasonal special events. Just to the other side of the bridge is Thenos Dairy with seasonal hand-made ice creams. 

A further stretch south takes you to Redmond Towne Center for more sustenance and refreshments; and of course to REI to stock-up on bike accessories and the latest jersey or shorts. It’s a short ride from there to Marymoor Park and its Velodrome where you can test you mettle on the only banked bike racing track in the North West or to watch local, regional and national sanctioned races. 

Regardless of where trail system travels take you, it is important to observe the Rules of the Road. Lazy summer days and evenings invite dreamy walks and rides, but you need to be aware of other travelers. Though they are called trails, these are actually car-free roads, and all pedestrian and rider rules apply. Many close-calls and mishaps can be avoided by following the basics:

  • Walk and ride on the right.
  • Look both ways before crossing.
  • Keep pets under leash control. Retractable leashes are a particular danger when your puppy strings it across the trail in front of oncoming bikers and skaters.
  • Pass pedestrians and slower traffic with caution and yield to oncoming traffic that does not have obstructions.
  • Listen for signaling bells, horns and calls of “On you left!”
  • If you’re on wheels – any wheels – wear a helmet.
  • Be nice!

As always, gas-powered devices are strictly prohibited. 

For more information, visit the King County Sammamish River Trail website.

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