Bellevue’s Lake to Lake Trail & Greenway is a waymarked urban hiking trail connecting Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. Although it is the crown jewel of the city’s parks system it is not heavily publicized, being used primarily by local residents (like us). We suspect that even with most locals, except for the annual organized 15K walk, most residents walk only short segments; very few do the whole trail…
For someone visiting the Seattle area from out of state, perhaps wanting a brief escape from the tourist hussle and bustle of Pike Place, the Space Needle, etc., the Lake to Lake Trail presents a wonderful opportunity. Just head to the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel – any of the five stations – and hop on a 550 Express bus to Bellevue. Transfer at Bellevue Transit Center to the local bus that serves your desired starting point. Within a couple of hours be in a completely different world – many sections of the trail are surprisingly un-urban.
I have hiked the route from end-to-end in both directions. Trail marking is exceptionally good along the entire length. Just be aware that numerous other Bellevue trails criss-cross the route but if you keep following the distinctive blue Lake to Lake markers you can’t go wrong. And since you’re never far from ‘civilization’ along the way, it doesn’t take much of a detour to locate restrooms, food & drink, etc.
There is one area where I do prefer to deviate from the published route. Some trail additions at Wilburton Hill Park now provide alternate routes that eliminate the ugly on-road section from SE 8th Street up to the Botanical Garden on Main Street (Google Map).