Places to Go

Burke-Gilman trail – or freeway?

Biggest complaint about the Burke-Gilman Trail? It’s way too popular. I swear nearly everyone in Seattle has biked this scenic 20+mile strip from Ballard to Bothell, admiring waterfront homes and Lake Washington views along the way.

A slower, less-crowded place on the Burke-Gilman Trail is here, outside Google offices in Fremont. Photo credit: Helen Holter

A slower, less-crowded place on the Burke-Gilman Trail is here, outside Google offices in Fremont.
Photo credit: Helen Holter

I have no idea how many times I’ve biked Burke-Gilman – hundreds? The Burke-Gilman and Sammamish River trails were my cycling route while training for the Seattle-Portland 200-mile bike ride with my Microsoft team. (I finished!)

On summer weekends, the path can be glutted with cyclists, walkers, joggers, and in-line skaters — all seemingly mindless of one another. Collisions or near-collisions are frequent. There’s a 15-mph speed limit for cyclists (often ignored), who are required to yell out “on your left” whenever they pass (again usually ignored). Stay on the right side of the trail –seriously!

GOOD TO KNOW
Easy-access restrooms
along the trail are at Gas Works Park, Burke-Gilman Place Park, Magnuson Park, Matthews Beach Park, and Tracy Owen Station Park.  Several parks on or near the trail are great for picnics or breaks. At Wayne Golf Course in Bothell the trail converts into the Sammamish River Trail, a 10-mile path to Marymoor Park, with amazing views of Mount Rainier.

"The Burke-Gilman Trail began as a logging railroad line..."

A BIT OF HISTORY
The Burke-Gilman Trail began as a logging railroad line with a dozen investors, including Judge Thomas Burke and Daniel Gilman. It was supposed to link with the Canadian Transcontinental Line, but never reached beyond Arlington in Snohomish County. Abandoned in the 1970s, it was dedicated as a “recreational facility” in 1978. In Seattle, “recreational facility” = tons of fun!Signature_80

Recommended: Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail

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