The Interurban Trail between Seattle and Everett stitches together a dense residential and commercial patchwork that the original electric railway helped to grow in the early part of the 20th century. The 24-mile trail also goes through the communities of Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds, and Lynnwood. It skirts two regional malls (Alderwood and Everett), a casino, and an abandoned drive-in theater, among other businesses.
The corridor for the Seattle-Everett Traction Company was considered remote when it launched service in 1910. As growth mushroomed after World War I, commuter and mercantile traffic switched to cars and trucks on new roads, and the railway (then owned by Puget Sound Power & Light Company) folded in 1939. Snohomish County, Lynnwood, and Everett pooled their resources to create the first 11.8 miles of trail in the mid-1990s. More trail gaps are closed every few years.
The rail-trail is a 10- to 12-foot-wide paved path that travels through park or greenbelt settings. Several long sections roll adjacent to noisy Interstate 5, which took the place of the railway corridor. Anyone traveling the entire distance, however, will stumble across a dozen gaps where the marked Interurban Trail detours onto bike lanes, wide shoulders, low-traffic streets, and sidewalks.
Starting in northwest Seattle, you'll pass several examples of trailside art, including some depicting a volcano erupting, an elk sprouting horns, and other scenes in a series of sequential signs. The trail section ends at a two-way cycle track on Linden Avenue with automatic crossing signals for bicycles.
The trail resumes through the commercial center of Shoreline and ends at picturesque Echo Lake. From here, it follows a 1-mile detour onto bike lanes and a path to the Lake Ballinger Station trailhead, which features a historical exhibit of the railway. As with all trail detours, look for the distinctive Interurban Trail signs showing a red arrow on a green circle on either a white or brown background.
Heading north, you'll encounter other trail gaps, often at major intersections. Some pedestrian crossings offer scenic views of peaks in the Cascade Range to the east. One trailside curiosity south of Everett Mall is the abandoned Puget Park Drive-In, which featured its last picture show in 2009. The trail ends on a sidewalk at the busy intersection of Colby Avenue and 41st Street in Everett.
To access the trail in Seattle, from I-5, take Exit 173. If coming from the south, turn left onto First Avenue NE. Head west on N. Northgate Way, which becomes N. 105th Street, for 1.1 miles. Turn right onto N. Park Avenue N, and go 0.2 mile. Turn left onto N. 110th Street. Find on-street parking.
To reach the Everett trailhead, from I-5, take Exit 192, and head west on 41st Street. Go one block, and turn left onto Colby Avenue. After 0.3 mile, turn left onto 44th Street SE. Find a small parking lot on the right.