- Day 2, July 16: 65.2 miles, total miles: 79.6 – bike on regional trails and a few city streets
- Parks, Trails, & Places of Significance: Interurban Route, Burke-Gilman Trail, Sammamish River Trail, North Creek Trail, Tolt Pipeline Trail, Snoqualmie Valley Trail, Lake Union Park, Wilmot Gateway Park, Snoqualmie Falls
Today we enjoyed a selection of trails that link our neighborhood in Seattle to North Bend (and beyond!). We were mostly on trails for our entire ride, except at the start, a construction detour, and connecting in with Snoqualmie Valley Trail.
I so admire the vision of the many planners, rail trail enthusiasts, and others who pieced this network together. And the efforts continue! The King County Parks regional trails map has been really helpful to our planning the route for this day and it was impressive to see the trail systems across our region.
We took the Interurban Route to the Burke-Gilman Trail to the Sammamish River Trail to the Tolt Pipeline Trail to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. We took a side excursion up the North Creek Trail to a northern point of the Greenway (the northern boundary follows the country line, so there are many options).
In the 1970s this trail network from Snoqualmie Pass to Puget Sound and downtown Seattle was a vision of King County planners and local conservationists. Forty some years later, it’s a reality and one that I gained perspective and appreciation for while preparing for this trip. What can take a day to ride was decades in the making.
Recently, I read Mountains to Sound: The Creation of a Greenway Across the Cascades by Daniel Jack Chasan and leaned a little about others who pieced together this route long before Gabriel and I did:
A King County planning employee named Stan Unger thought it would be fun to actually walk the proposed route, and in the rainy August of 1975, Unger spent five days hiking from Discovery Park to the pass. He walked railroad tracks from Seattle, followed the Tolt Pipeline Trail to the Snoqualmie Valley, hiked another abandoned railroad line – acquired but not yet developed by King County – up the valley to Snoqualmie Falls. Beyond North Bend Unger took logging roads north of I-90 into the mountains (trains still ran on the racks south of the freeway, and he never imagined that route they ran over would become a trail), then followed hiking trails into what is now the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Thanks Mr. Unger and many others for your efforts!
It was another hot day and we greatly appreciated the shady corridors (yay trees!) along all of the trails as the shade made the riding easier. Overall, a pretty smooth day. And a first for Gabriel: riding more than 60 miles in one go.
Highlights included seeing so many people out enjoying trails, seeing people cooling off in the Tolt and Snoqualmie Rivers, watching a fly fisherman cast in the river, stopping to admire Snoqualmie Falls, views of Mt. Si, and having our friend Andy greet us with slices of watermelon when we got to his house!
There were many places that we could have explored (at the top of my wish list: any of the charming farms of the Snoqualmie Valley, Three Forks Natural Area and Scott’s Dairy Freeze in North Bend) but with the warmer than normal temps and staying mindful of the overall endeavor, we deferred explorations. One more reason that we’re calling this trip the “infinity loop”: there’s always something else to explore in the Greenway!