Lake Hills Neighbors:
Let’s get outside! We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and Lake Hills itself is graced by some wonderful trails and walks. Let’s get outside this year, to do some exploring! To help motivate us all, the Lake Hills Board and Board Member Randy Grein in particular have come up with a new activity for us all to enjoy, plus prizes at the end! We will have a few guided/group walks, you are free to join (masked and socially distanced, of course) or walk on your own. Here are the guidelines:
The Challenge lasts from now until March 27, 2021.
Email the miles you walk to Mindy@Garner.net to be recorded. Your total miles will be announced to the neighborhood, on Facebook and here on our website.
Each participant who visits 6 different Bellevue parks during the event will receive a Lake Hills Neighborhood Patch to wear with pride after the event.
While you are walking (and carrying a phone or camera) take some photos. Enter your best ones on our event Facebook page during the event. We will be giving out $100, $50, and $25 local restaurant gift certificates for the best 3 photos! Our Facebook page is:
Here are some of Bellevue’s great parks and trails to get you started, with commentary from Randy:
Lake Hills (and Bellevue!) Park Walk/run
Bellevue is lucky to have many parks, and we are in the heart of them. We all know about the big ones, but there are many pocket parks too. The city has a complete map on the website with trails inside parks and between, https://bellevuewa.gov/…/BellevueParkGuide2013_20x30… . So, walk or run, use a walker or chair – explore these parks. This is on the honor system; keep track of your walks and let us know when you’re done. Most any smartphone has both a map application as well as a step tracker, both to keep from getting lost and to track distance. Stay safe, take a mask (these get busy at times and we aren’t all vaccinated yet), and do what you can. If you like, do more; even pick out one not listed. But try to do at least one of the park to park walks. Pick one that you are not familiar with and learn it, but watch out for the hills. We are, after all, Lake Hills.
Nature Trails are listed here: https://bellevuewa.gov/…/parks-and-trails/nature-trails
Parks are listed here: https://bellevuewa.gov/…/parks/parks-and-trails/parks
My suggestions, in no particular order
1. Weowna Park Trail 2.5 miles. One of my favorites, but the hills are steep. The city says 2 trail heads, but there are 6 – 7 if you consider the southernmost informal trail off 168th. Easy walk to Lake hills park or the Lake Hills Greenbelt. Runners often combine the Greenbelt and Weowna park from Samena Swim Club for longer runs.
2. Lake Hills Greenbelt Miles, practically limitless. The Samena St. Patty’s Day 5k is held here every year. The trail around Larson Lake gets a little swampy (peat bogs do that) in the winter, but no real problems. And it really is lovely. Lots of wildlife here if you’re patient, and the fishing piers to the lake give a chance to see aquatic life and water birds. The southern end takes you to Phantom lake for more aquatic fun – well, in the summer. Just short of that is the connection to Lake Hills park by SE 16th. Meander up 164th to 164th Blvd to catch Evergreen park. Continue back to the Greenbelt. Make sure to check out the ranger station off of SE 16th just west of 156th Ave. You might be surprised at the wildlife to be found here.
3. Robinswood Park, limitless. EVERYONE knows about Robinswood – the play fields, the only dog park IN Bellevue, the pond, and North Robinswood Sports field across SE 22 St. But have you gone West to Spiritwood Park? (I have yet to have the pleasure.) Wandered into the woods to the south? Trails galore and fairly flat – but the southern border is a trail that goes West to Bellevue College and beyond, and East through the ‘park’ NE of the old Boeing facility, to the trial on SE 24th around Phantom lake.
4. Sunset Mini Park – Skyridge Park. Another pair I have not had the pleasure to walk (yet), both accessible off SE 26th. It’s a bit of a walk from Sunset Mini Park, across Kamber Rd. to SE 20 – and drop to the entrance of Skyridge. There IS a trail from there to Kelsey, but it is an yet an unknown quality.
5. Bannerwood Ballfield Park. This is another I’ve not gone to directly. Right off Richards Road/Lake Hills Connector, the East side has a baseball stadium I didn’t know about with a small trail. But the connector trail goes right past, and west of Richards rd. is an extensive set of trails to the Woodridge neighborhood and to Kelsey Creek and Wilburton parks. A legitimate 2 mile + walk might start from Woodridge Water Tower park, east to 128th Ave then north to one of the two trail heads. But it might be easier to park at the Ballfield and cross Richards Road to the trailhead at the southern tip of the park. Either way there is a nice loop that follows the road then along the connector, before branching either to Wilburton north or up the hill to the south. The trail leads to the 128th Ave. end, and a short walk taking the first left gets you on the last part of the trail, down the hill to Richards Road again.
6. Kelsey Creek/ Wilburton Hill Parks. While Wilburton connects right off the extended ‘Bannerwood’ park it might make more sense to start at the Botanical Garden/Park ballfields or International School, along the trail to Kelsey Creek Park via SE 4th Pl. Return routes are to retrace, along SE 7th or up the hill to the Lake Hills Connector, depending on ambition. This will also be a longer route, so plan accordingly. Cut it short or have reasonable turnarounds planned.
7. Crossroads Park/Hillaire Park. Crossroads Park is really a jewel, but it is heavily used. Parking is available at the north end (NE 15th St next to the golf course), at the Community Center and entrances off of NE 8th and 164th Ave. There are connections off the north end to Northup.
8. Ivanohoe/Keeney/Tam O’Shanter Parks. These are my favorite ‘run through’ parks. Start at the ‘nameless’ park across Northup – heavily used in good weather for basketball, and take a circuit of Ivanhoe fields before continuing down Northup to Keeney park – a nice little pocket of green behind the church. Turn up 173rd (stay on the East, or downhill side for safe walking) and head uphill to Tam O’Shanter park. The main part is a through trail to NE 24, but it does drop down the hill just short of Bennet Elementary.
9. Sunset Hills Memorial Park. If you fancy a walk through a cemetery it looks nice, but I’ve not been in yet. Access is off 145th PL and SE 16th St.
10. Ardmore Park. This has several access points, depending on your mood. All are fairly short. Park at Sherwood Forest Elementary and walk the half dozen blocks to the park entrance across from 170th Ave. Or you can park along NE 30th for a shorter walk, or even start at Ardmore elementary exploring the 2 trails and micro-park to the north before heading south to Ardmore Park proper. All are worthy but short. The park has multiple access points off neighborhood streets, you’ll have to find them. But that is no struggle.
11. Highland Park is mostly a ballfield off of Bel-Red Road, but does have a skate park, connections to the 520 pathway but understand that THAT is heavily used by bicyclists going across the lake on the 520 bridge. It’s a short walk to Bridle Trails corner park/Viewpoint park, both quite small. Access is off NE 24th and the hill is steep, but hey, by now you should be ready for it.
12. Bridle Trails Corner/Viewpoint/Cherry Crest/ Mini Park You MIGHT want to do these 3 on their own, or you could match Cherry Crest park with Cherry Crest Elementary, particularly as it is adjacent to Cherry Crest park proper.
13. Goldsmith Park has a bit of reputation. I am unsure if it’s deserved or not, but if you decide to go do so with a couple friends.
14. Hidden Valley Sports Park runs long north/south, and has trails all the way through. Easy access off of 112th Ave, not sure about the north end on 24th St. NE.
15. Zumdieck Park/McCormick/Ashwood Park are in a tight little group just south of Hidden Valley. Ashwood is adjacent to the Library and mostly playfield with access to downtown amenities. Across the street McCormick is a nice little walking park along 12th from 112th to 106th. Turn north on 108th Ave. and go a few blocks to Zumdieck. While small it has a nice little trail through.
16. Goddard/Clyde Beach/Meydenbauer/Downtown/Wildwood Park. A lot of parks in a small area. Downtown has plenty of parking, or grab a bite at Bel Square or whatever its name is this week and head west to tiny Goddard park, then west to Clyde Beach. Still small but worth seeing. Then continue east to Meydenbauer beach. Check out the pier and marina, catch Wildwood Park with a dizzying amount of twisty little paths, all different – and trudge up the hill back to Downtown park. Downtown Park is being remodeled, and will have a beautiful connection to downtown very soon.
17. Mercer Slough Nature Park. Nice and flat as befits marshland, which is no insult. These are the most productive wildlands of all, serving as nurseries for fish, birds and amphibians. And insects. Winter is the perfect time to see this park if you are tasty to mosquitos like I am. Much of the slough has no paths, but there are trails around the blueberry farm and the education center – and a good path on the east and south borders that link up with a diagonal trail from southwest to northeast corner. These trails are well connected to the Lake to Lake trail on the south and up to Surrey Downs and points east via Kelsey Creek, but that’s a long way to go.
18. Chism Beach Park. Having never seen this park I’m curious – but it looks like it might be a standard ravine park. Certainly enough walking trails all the way to the beach. A very short walk along 97th Pl gets you to walking paths that go around to Killarney Glen Park, another filled with twisty little paths, all the same.
19. Coal Creek Natural Area – 4.5 miles (at least). Not an easy walk, it goes up and down quite a bit, trails are damp with some mud – take a walking stick unless you are VERY sure footed! It’s possible to pick up on the trail at Newcastle Beach Park, walk along and under 405, pick up the trail at the north end – and end up deep in Somerset, or all the way to the Red Town trailhead. Of course that’s at the very beginning of the Cougar Mountain park outside of the city proper.
20. Forest Ridge Mini Park is another long wild hike and connects to seamlessly to the Coal Creek trail. It should be flatter with fewer hills. Hardly a ridge, it follows from the Coal Creek Natural area to the NW between Forest Drive SE and Newcastle Golf Club Rd. to the Red Town Trailhead, which may be the best parking. A mix of trails and roads lead up to Saddleback, Lakemont Highlands and Lewis Creek parks, but the distance makes those a real stretch on foot for most. A better idea might be picking out a section of any of these that’s comfortable and walking it in sections, unless you are training for something more.