Stroll Bellevue

 By Megan Hill  | This article originally appeared in the 2015 Bellevue Visitor’s Guide
Coal-Creek-Park-BridgeCoal Creek Trail

For those more into leisurely ambles than aggressive ascents, Bellevue offers amazing strolls through botanical garden paths, massive parks, and even a slough.

1. Bellevue Pedestrian Corridor: The boulevard created to make the area more walkable has transformed the city’s core. The corridor passes shops, restaurant patios, and downtown’s more than 120 works of public art. From the pathway, you can connect to Bellevue’s Downtown Park.

2. Ardmore Park: A thick canopy of Douglas fir and hemlock obscure the city surrounding this 28-acre park in east Bellevue. The park’s main trail runs for almost two miles, climbing several hills and crossing small streams. Details

3. Lake Hills Greenbelt: These trails traverse 172 acres of varied terrain, from wetlands to cedar forest. Park rangers lead family-friendly hikes, instructing visitors on topics like local wildlife, fungus, and watershed restoration.

Dahlia-Garden-at-Bellevue-Botanical-Garden-by-Sea-Turtle-via-Flickr4. Bellevue Botanical Garden: The 53 acres of gardens, forest, and wetland are open dawn to dusk daily, and entrance is free to all. In addition to peaceful strolling, the garden hosts summer concerts and a holiday lights festival.

5. Mercer Slough: This park encompasses 320 acres of Washington’s largest wetland and seven miles of boardwalks, soft-surface paths, and asphalt trails. Rangers guide nature walks every Saturday at 2pm, and in summer, canoe trips from Enatai Beach Park.

6. Weowna Park: This park’s 90 acres protect old-growth forest and open spaces with views of the Cascade Mountains. The 2.5 miles of trails crisscross Weowna Creek as it tumbles through a deep ravine toward Lake Sammamish.

7. Coal Creek: A well-maintained network of trails crosses through thick second-growth forest along Coal Creek. You may spot artifacts from the now-defunct mining activities that once took place here, including an old mineshaft.

8. Lake to Lake Greenway Trail: This greenbelt runs between Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington and links several Bellevue parks with some 10 miles of paved paths. Look for the blue bollards that mark the way from Weowna Park, Wilburton Hill Park, and Kelsey Creek Park.

9. Lewis Creek Park: This 55-acre park preserves wetlands, grasslands, and forests surrounding Lewis Creek and its tributaries. Walk the half-mile loop through all three ecosystems, or join a ranger-led hike—including nighttime tours to search for owls and other nocturnal wildlife.

Photo Credits (from top to bottom): Coal Creek Trail by 若昔难得 via Flickr | Bellevue Botanical Garden by Sea Turtle via Flickr
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