The Sammamish River Trail rolls along smoothly through a wide, scenic greenway that's home to riverside parks and farms, as well as a growing wine industry. The trail is the center link of the Seattle area's locks-to-lakes corridor, which connects the Ballard Locks to Lakes Washington and Sammamish via the Burke-Gilman and East Lake Sammamish rail-trails.
Yet the Sammamish River Trail isn't primarily a rail-trail. It's a levee trail that was created in the 1960s when crews drained the swamps and completed the second rechanneling of the one-time meandering Sammamish River. The wide asphalt trail follows the river for 11 miles, from Bothell's Blyth Park in the north (where it connects to the Burke-Gilman Trail) to Redmond's Marymoor Park in the south (where it links to the Marymoor Connector Trail and East Lake Sammamish Trail).
Passing through the population centers of Bothell, Woodinville, and Redmond, the trail is one of King County's busiest. Visitors are drawn here by the open spaces; the views of far-off Mount Rainier and the closer Cascade foothills; and the opportunity to hike, run, skate, or ride a bike or a horse (a soft-surface side trail for equestrians is accessible between NE 175th Street in Woodinville to Marymoor Park). Bike commuters roll through here in the mornings and evenings, and lunchtime strollers fill the Redmond section on sunny weekdays.
To start at Blyth Park in Bothell, leave the parking lot and turn left. Turn right onto a trail heading north, and then turn left at a sign pointing to the Sammamish River Trail and bear right at the next junction. The river supports lush surroundings here. A bridge crosses the river for a possible side trip to historical buildings at Bothell Landing. The trail meanders east and then trends southward at Woodinville's Wilmot Gateway Park, which sports a grape arbor. Maples and alders grow along the river, while picnic tables, benches, and soccer and baseball fields inhabit the grassy areas by the trail. Weasels, hooded mergansers, painted turtles, beavers, frogs, salmon, and herons share the river, and hawks and bald eagles patrol the sky.
Farther south, an off-route trail option follows NE 145th Street westward to the Hollywood Winery District, where both notable and little–known wines are poured in tasting rooms. A brewery and restaurant can be found there as well.
The route passes agricultural land and athletic fields on its approach to Redmond—where the path can get crowded on weekdays. It passes a government complex and senior center south of NE 90th Street in a trail section known as "The Stroll." At an old trestle, the river trail crosses the Redmond Central Connector, which uses an inactive BNSF railroad right-of-way to access downtown. After a couple of river crossings, the route ends at 640-acre Marymoor Park, where cyclists can take a spin in the velodrome, and all visitors can find the Marymoor Connector Trail that joins the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
To reach Blyth Park from Interstate 405, take Exit 23 to State Route 522 west toward Seattle. After 0.2 mile, bear right onto Kaysner Way. Turn left onto Main Street. After 0.1 mile, turn left onto 102nd Avenue NE. When the road ends at 0.3 mile, turn right onto W. Riverside Drive. Blyth Park is 0.5 mile ahead.
To reach Marymoor Park from I-405, take Exit 14. Follow SR 520 E for 4.7 miles, and exit to W. Lake Sammamish Parkway NE. Turn right, and go 0.2 mile. Turn left into Marymoor Park at the signal at NE Marymoor Way. The trail begins at the first lot on the left by the tennis courts.