Biking along the Sammamish River Trail
Take a spin along the Sammamish River Trail, a 10-mile paved path from Bothell south to Redmond's Marymoor Park. The trail is a haven, among fast-growing suburbs...
Seattle Times Travel staff
Northwest travel guides
Editor's note: Take a day's vacation without going far. Our "Super Saturdays" series offers simple outings to entertaining destinations by car, bus or bicycle.
The budget outing: Take a spin along the Sammamish River Trail, a 10-mile paved path from Bothell south to Redmond's Marymoor Park.
The trail is a haven, among fast-growing suburbs, for bicyclists. Stop at a riverside park for a glimpse of pioneer history and take short detours off the trail for a meal, from gourmet to fast-food.
From its north end in Bothell, the flat and vehicle-free trail winds along the shallow Sammamish River (more a creek at many points), skirting busy roads and housing. As it turns south through Woodinville and Redmond, eventually ending at Marymoor Park, it opens into a valley where big-box warehouses give way to fields, both agricultural and athletic, and parkland.
On good-weather weekends, flocks of Lycra-clad bikers surge along the trail; the hardiest combine it with Seattle's 17-mile-long Burke-Gilman Trail, which links to it at the north end of Lake Washington. (See a map of both trails at www.metrokc.gov/parks/trails/trails/burke.htm.)
Being a slow-going cyclist, I drove to Bothell Landing, a pocket park on the river near Bothell's Main Street, and biked from there on a cool and gloomy day -- and despite the weather found that I enjoyed this quiet escape from the city.
If you have kids along, it may be hard to get away from Bothell Landing (at 9919 N.E. 180th St.) with its playground, friendly ducks and the Bothell Historical Society Museum.
The museum is closed until May, but peek through the windows of its 19th-century buildings. The one-room schoolhouse has vintage desks and a pot-bellied stove; the nearby two-story museum house is filled with period furniture. (Bicyclists are asked not to park their cars in Bothell Landing's small lot; find street parking or park across the river just to the east at Sammamish River Park.)
Rain or shine, expect fowl company along the Bothell stretch of trail. Dozens of chickens-gone-wild -- descendants, perhaps, of unwanted Easter-gift chicks -- live along the trail, strutting among the bikers, joggers and walkers. Roosters crow raucously, sometimes perching picturesquely on signposts.
The Bothell scenery is interesting, not idyllic. The trail winds past scrubby bits of woodland; mobile-home parks with decks artfully cantilevered over the river, and dinghies moored at little docks; and the spaghetti junction of Interstate 405 and Highway 522.
Turning south into Woodinville, the trail leaves freeways behind and passes through Wilmot Gateway Park, with benches under a long gazebo. Picnic there or make a quick run to the Taco Bell next to the park.
The trail straightens out in the open Sammamish Valley. The Lycra bikers whiz along here; others take it slowly, including two well-groomed women I passed, who pedaled sedately as they chatted on their cell phones.
The drizzle turned to serious rain; I took a quick break at an upscale cluster of liquor, lodging and dining where the trail intersects Woodinville's Northeast 145th Street. It includes Willows Lodge, a luxury hotel; the venerable Herbfarm restaurant and the more casual Barking Frog bistro; the Columbia Winery, Redhook Brewery and, just to the south, the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery.
Have a meal, take a brewery or winery tour for drinks at their source. (See related story.) It's an ideal reward and a good turnaround point for a short ride -- only about six miles roundtrip from Bothell Landing.
Good eats: I was too wet and bedraggled to eat anywhere fancy. I biked back to Bothell Landing and found, a half-block away on Bothell's old-fashioned Main Street, the Kozy Corner Cafe. It's as 1950s as its name: Formica-tabled booths, ladies with tight-permed hair sipping a cup of soup; and a cheerful white-bloused waitress who pours endless coffee refills. For about $9, I stuffed myself with a Spanish omelet; truly homemade home fries; and fluffy biscuits. Or opt for salads (heavy on the iceberg lettuce); sandwiches and burgers. 10137 Main St., Bothell, 425-483-3070.
Shopping op: I waddled across Bothell's Main Street, a two-block, old-fashioned stretch of little shops and restaurants, to Bothell Jewelers & Collectibles. It's a jam-packed little shop of eccentric treasures, from 78 rpm records to vintage jewelry, old cameras and a china pig collection. 10130 Main St., Bothell. 425-487-2900, or get a preview online at www.trocadero.com/bothellj.
What'll it cost me? Not much. Bus fare or gas to Bothell, plus a filling meal for under $10 at the Kozy Corner Cafe.
Getting there: Bothell Landing is about a 10-minute drive west of the intersection of Interstate 405 and Highway 522. From I-405, head west on 522, which leads into Bothell Way Northeast. Turn left onto Northeast 180th St. to get to Bothell Landing park.
Metro and Sound Transit buses serve Bothell; many stop by the Bothell Park & Ride lot (10303 Woodinville Dr.) about a block from Bothell Landing and the bike trail.
Kristin Jackson: 206-464-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org