From urban green spaces to tranquil forest trails, there’s a Bellevue park for every occasion.

With numerous urban and pastoral open spaces to choose from, outdoor recreation reigns in and around Bellevue. In the metropolitan column, the newly renovated and expanded 10-acre Meydenbauer Bay Park features a curved pier offering pedestrian access over the water and an elevated promenade that’s perfect for capturing Instagrammable views of Lake Washington.

Forests, meadows, wetlands, and trails prevail at the ranger-staffed Lewis Creek Park. In addition to the robust Natural Resources programming, which includes wildlife education sessions, storytimes, and ranger-led walks, the park offers a self-guided scavenger hunt for families with young kids.

Another must-see, Wilburton Hill Park, with slides, swings, a tot-sized zipline, ballfields, and an outdoor fitness system, makes an ideal picnic stop. Other crowd-pleasers in town include Kelsey Creek Farm Park, Robinswood Community Park, Downtown Park, and Eastgate Park.

Just 20 minutes south of downtown Bellevue, the Coal Creek Natural Area, steeped in coal industry history, offers a soft respite from busy city life. The Coal Creek Trail, a 3.7-mile hike, crosses by a sealed coal mine shaft, and a coal seam is exposed through a short loop. There’s not a home in sight, but because of the area’s rich fish and wildlife habitats, deer, bobcats, black bears, and cougars roam the landscape of Bellevue’s largest park.

Coal Creek itself flows into another bucolic gem, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, located in the Issaquah Alps. Outdoor enthusiasts traverse under canopies of second-growth forests, over streams, around wetlands, and near cliffs and caves. Some of the park’s most popular trails pass the picturesque Coal Creek Falls.

Peaceful barked hiking trails meander alongside Phantom Creek in tranquil Weowna Park, offering hikers a canopy of old-growth forest, plus views of waterfalls, Lake Sammamish, and the Cascade Mountains.

This article was written by Heather Larson for the 2019-20 Bellevue Visitor’s Guide.