TRACKS

TRACKS promotes outdoor adventure, youth leadership and environmental stewardship, with a mission to encourage outdoor opportunities that develop life skills and knowledge for all ages, abilities and income levels. photos || video

Wednesday Walks Fall 2020

Bellevue has over 90 miles of trails throughout our parks system.  Many trails are paved and accessible to all!  This series of walks is perfect for strollers, scooters, bikes and wheels of all kinds. Each 1 to 1.5 mile walk explores different parks on paved, accessible trails - perfect if you're looking to explore a new walking trail with the whole family.  

Newcastle Beach Park 
4400 Lake Washington Blvd SE, Bellevue, WA 98006

Photo of paved trails

 Newcastle Beach Park provides a fully-paved loop around a lovely grassy field, with views of the lake and a covered picnic shelter for a snack or lunch on rainy days.  There is also a short nature trail just south of the parking lot through the trees if you are feeling adventurous! The swim beach is closed for the season, but you can still stroll out onto the dock for an excellent view of the lake. 

Photo of paved trail
Photo of field and lake

Downtown Park to Meydenbauer Bay Park 
Downtown Park -10201 NE 4th Street, Bellevue, WA 98004 
Meydenbauer Bay Park - 419 98th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

Photo of trail

This walk connects two of Bellevue's newest park projects.  Start off at Downtown Park and take a stroll around the circle.  If you've got little ones, make time to stop by Inspiration Playground before heading south on 100th Avenue NE. 

Take a right on Lake Washington Boulevard NE and head two blocks down to Meydenbauer Bay Park. To get down to the water requires a few stairs, but the view from the top is worth the walk!

You can also choose to start your walk at Meydenbauer Bay Park. There is parking at the top of the park as well as accessible spots at the bottom of the hill near the boathouse. 

Photo of trail along lake

Lake Hills Community Park to Phantom Lake Park 
Lake Hills Community Park -1200 165th Avenue SE 
Phantom Lake Park - 2098 156th Avenue SE

Photo of trail

Start this walk after parking in either lot at Lake Hills Community Park. Follow the trail to the south out of the park and then west as it runs along SE Phantom Way.  This trail will cross 160th and 159th Avenues SE and continue towards the Lake Hills Greenbelt Produce Stand. 

Photo of paved trail

Take a left at the intersection and walk down the trail along 156th Avenue SE. You will pass the Bellevue Urban Garden as you come to Phantom Lake Park.  This is a great spot for a picnic, with plenty of lawn and picnic tables.  There is also a short pier to gaze at the lake and maybe spot some fish. 

Photo of trail

After you have enjoyed the park, head back along the same path. 

Crossroads Par-3 Golf Course to Crossroads Community Park 
15910 NE 15th Street, Bellevue, WA 98008

Photo of Crossroads Park trail

For this walk through Crossroads Community Park, start at the Crossroads Par-3 Golf Course parking lot.  Begin your walk down the paved path past the golf pro shop and the community garden.

Photo of Crossroads Park trail

Head through the trees toward the tennis courts and playground.  Head along the fairway of the golf course before making your way up toward the Bellevue Youth Theater, around the large green cones that serve as skylights to the theater. 

Photo of Crossroads Park trail

Keep going along the path as it wraps around the fire station and into Crossroads International Park.  Take a loop around the park and check out the giant orca at the playground before completing your loop back the way you came. 

Photo of orcas whale play feature in Crossroads Park

Tuesday Trails 50+ Fall 2020

This fall Tuesday Trails will look a little different.  We are not able to offer in-person hikes at this time, but check back every Tuesday from Sept 15 to Oct 27 for information on a new local hike!  

This easy hiking series is designed for active seniors looking to explore the beautiful trails around Bellevue.  Locations are subject to change based on conditions and weather.  Hikes will be about two miles and specifically chosen for the over-50 crowd. 

Larson Lake to Lake Hills Greenbelt Ranger Station 

  • 2.4 Miles 
  • Easy - trail is flat with crushed gravel and mulch. 
  • Parking - 700 148th Ave SE at the Blueberry Farm.  
Map of Lake Hills Greenbelt

This week Washington is experiencing poor air quality due to fires on the west coast.  Before you head outside for any type of activity, it is a good idea to check the air quality.  

The hike this week starts at Larsen Lake and takes you through urban farms and gardens right here in the city.  

Larsen Lake Trail

Head out clockwise around the lake through the blueberry fields.  You'll catch a few views of the lake as the trail winds through the park.  Notice the blue trail signs throughout the park with directional arrows and trail distances.  

Larsen Lake Trail sign

Once you reach the south east corner of the park, follow the sign towards the Lake Hills Ranger Station.  The trail will cross Lake Hills Blvd at the crosswalk.  

Lake Hills Greenbelt Produce Stand

Continue to follow the trail through the trees and end up at the Lake Hills Produce Stand. Once there, feel free to check out the fresh produce and flowers available for purchase at the farm stand, or head up to the Master Gardeners of King County Demonstration Garden and wander around the seasonal blooms.

Lake Hills Greenbelt Demonstration Garden entrance

There are plenty of benches to take a snack and water break before heading back the way you came. 

Wilburton Hill Park to Kelsey Creek Farm

  • 2 miles 
  • Easy/Moderate: Mix of gravel trail and sidewalk, downhill and uphill. 
  • Parking for this hike can be found at Wilburton Hill Park, 12400 Main Street. 

This week we are exploring the connection between Wilburton Park and Kelsey Creek Farm.  There is a large parking lot, and the trails start at the south end of the lot near the play structure.

Photo of trail sign at Wilburton Hill Park parking lot

The gravel trail will wind around the play structure and then head down the hill beyond the outfield of the ball field. 

Photo of Wilburton trail

This section of the trail consists of wide and gentle downhill switchbacks as you wind through the trees.  After about half a mile the trail comes to 128th Ave SE.  Take a right and head down the sidewalk toward SE 4th Place. 

Photo of sidewalk

Take a left on SE 4th Place which leads directly into the Kelsey Creek Farm parking lot.  After crossing the bridge, continue past the picnic shelter, and you'll see the big white barn (here's the white barn welcome sign). 

Photo of Kelsey Creek Farm welcome sign

The Barnyard remains closed, but you might be able to see goats, sheep, cows and horses enjoying the pasture in front of the barn along the road. 

Photo of sheep in pasture at Kelsey Creek Farm

Once you say hi to all the farm life, loop back through the park and head back up SE 4th Place to 128th Avenue SE and walk back the way you came. 

Lake Hills Community Park to Weowna Park 

  • 3 miles 
  • Moderate- Hills and varied trail surfaces 
  • Parking: Plenty of parking is available at Lake Hills Community Park 1200 164th Ave SE
Weowna Park trail map

You can start this hike at Lake Hills Community Park because there is plenty of parking.  However, if you'd like a shorter hike you can find parking along the street closer to Weowna Park. 

As you leave the parking lot at Lake Hills Community Park, take a right and then a quick left onto SE 14th Street.  Follow SE 14th Street as it curves around and becomes 168th Ave SE.  Weowna Park will be on your left - there is an entrance to the trails opposite SE 16th Street. 

Photo of Weowna Park trail sign

There is a shorter loop and a longer loop you can try, but note that the hills will come as you head west towards Lake Sammamish Parkway, 

Photo of trail

If you'd like to avoid hills you can stay on the trail near the street and enjoy the trees and birds, and then head back the way you came.  If you are up for a loop through Weowna Park, expect some hills.

Photo of trail

Pick your loop, which will be downhill first, then it flattens out at the bottom of the loop, then up toward 168th Avenue SE.    

Photo of trail

 

Enatai Neighborhood Park to Enatai Beach Park

  • Easy - mostly paved and only gradual hills 
  • 2 miles

This hike starts at Enatai Neighborhood Park, located at 10661 SE 25th Street (just opposite Enatai Elementary School).

Photo of park sign

Take a quick lap around the park on the gravel trail.  The park stays nice and shady, even on a sunny day.  This park is great for tennis, pickle ball and walking.  After you've enjoyed the park, head out up the hill past the play structure to the sidewalk along 108th SE.  Take a right and head down toward the lake. 

Photo of trail

The lake should come into view after just a few blocks.  As you approach the intersection at SE 34th Street, notice the park’s directional sign letting you know you are on the Mountain to Sound Greenway.

Photo of trail sign

Continue into Enatai Beach Park and admire the view!  There are plenty of picnic tables for a snack or water break. 

Photo of Lake Washington

Get back on the Mountain to Sound Greenway Trail and follow as it goes along SE Lake Road.  The road will come to a dead end in the trail.  Be careful along this section of the trail as it is very popular for bicyclists.  

Photo of trail

As you continue on the trail after it leaves the street, you are heading back into Mercer Slough.  You'll get to a bridge and can admire the abundant wildlife that lives in the slough, so keep your eyes out for turtles, beavers and osprey.  

Photo of slough

The bridge is the turn-around point for this two mile hike.  Head back the same way you came.  If you are looking for a longer hike, you can keep going through the slough and end up at 118th Avenue SE. 

 

Bellevue Botanical Garden

  • 12001 Main Street Bellevue, WA 98005 
  • 1.5 miles 
  • Easy- gravel and packed dirt trails, a few gradual hills

A map of the gardens and more information are available here.

Bellevue Botanical Garden is a great spot to watch the fall colors take over our trees!  There is plenty of parking in the main parking lot.  Head through the breezeway and notice a map of the garden on your right.  Start your stroll to the left and head off toward the Yao Garden. 

TRACKS - BBG map

The wide gravel trail that winds through most of the garden allows for social distancing.  As you arrive through the gates at the Yao Japanese Garden, notice that the path narrows, and the garden path is one-way. 

TRACKS - Bellevue Botanical Garden trail

 

TRACKS - Yao Garden sign

After taking in the quiet beauty of the Yao Garden, head left as you exit and continue on the gravel path. Next up is the Native Discovery Garden. 

TRACKS - Native Discovery Garden sign

When you’re done exploring that, head out the way you came and continue on the gravel path. Head towards the Ravine Experience. 

TRACKS - BBG directional sign

The Ravine Experience is a suspension bridge that allows beautiful views of the forest, the ravine and the creek below.  Head across the bridge for a lovely loop through the trees.  This section of the trail is packed dirt. 

TRACKS - Ravine Experience - bridge entrance and sign

There are some lovely benches if you’d like a water break or a spot to take in the views.  When you’re done, head back across the bridge.  Look for the sign directing you toward the Lost Meadow Trail and the Perennial Border.

TRACKS - BBG bench

As you walk through the meadow, notice some art and sculpture pieces along the way.

TRACKS - BBG "beehive" sculpture

Take your time exploring the Perennial Border garden; you’ll find more than 700 perennials, evergreens, trees and flowering shrubs. 

TRACKS - BBG trail

When you’re all done, head up the stairs and toward the open lawn.  If you’re ready for a coffee by then, pick one up at the Copper Kettle from their socially-distanced pick-up window. 

Take your time heading back towards the visitor center and parking lot.  

Tam O'Shanter Park to Ardmore Park

  • Moderate- Hills throughout, packed dirt and paved trails 
  • 3 miles

This week we head to Northeast Bellevue starting at Tam O'Shanter Park - 1655 173rd Avenue NE.  This smaller park has street parking. 

Photo of park sign

Head around the play structure toward the packed dirt trail, and note the park directional sign.  After leaving the playground area, you will notice the rolling hills, and these will remain throughout the hike.  Continue on and follow the signs towards 24th Street via Redmond Trail. 

Photo of trail

 

Photo of trail

There are a few jogs in the trail, but they are well marked.  The forest here is a lovely place to see fall colors.  There are tons of Douglas fir and big leaf maple trees. 

Photo of trail

After almost a half-mile the trail will cross over into Redmond.  You'll notice signs that denote View Point Open Space. 

Photo of sign and trail

The trail will end at NE 24th Street.  Take a left and head up a few blocks.  Ardmore Park Trail entrance will be on the right opposite 171st Avenue NE.

Photo of trail sign

The trail weaves through Ardmore Park.  There are more rolling hills, but none that are too steep.  Continue to follow the directional signs toward Ardmore Park.

Photo of trail

When you arrive at Ardmore Park, take a break on one of the tree-covered benches or check out the picnic tables by the playground.  Once you've had a water or lunch break, head back the way you came.  

Photo of park bench

 

Photo of trail

When you get back to 24th Street, you can choose to follow it back exactly the way you came and meet up with the Redmond View Point Trail.  However, if you are feeling a little tired, you can take a right on 173rd Avenue NE, which will lead more directly back to Tam O'Shanter Park.  If you choose the 173rd route, your walk will be 2.5 miles, and if you head back the way you came through the trails, it will be three miles in total.  

 

Lewis Creek Park

  • 1.5 miles 
  • Moderate- paved, boardwalk, packed gravel and dirt 
  • 5808 Lakemont Blvd SE 

This week we are headed to Lewis Creek Park, a lovely place to take in hillside views of the changing fall colors.  This hike has plenty of parking in the lot at the Lewis Creek Visitor Center.

Photo of Lewis Creek Visitor Center

Head down past the basketball court on the back side of the building.  Take a right and head along the paved path toward the playground.  When you reach the end of the play area, the paved trail will turn to dirt and will lead to a boardwalk through the Wetland Trail.  

TRACKS - photo of trail
Photo of trail

You'll reach a Y in the trail after about a quarter mile. Head to the right on the smaller dirt trail that leads up above the wetlands.  You'll see the best views from atop this hillside.  The trail curves back to the left at the crest of the hill.  You can see the visitor center’s roof top and full fall colors.  

Photo of trail
Photo of meadow

As the trail comes back down into the trees, notice the “Keep Wildlife Wild” sign and take a left.  There are tons of trees, mushrooms, bugs and wildlife in the park, so keep your eyes open to all of the interesting species.

Photo of mushrooms on log

The trail follows the fence line as it goes toward Lakemont Blvd.  It becomes paved once again as you head down toward the road.  Before reaching Lakemont Blvd take a left and follow the signs back to Lewis Creek Visitor Center.

The trail becomes denser with trees, ferns and mushrooms.

Photo of trail sign
Photo of trail through mossy trees

You will come to the Lewis Creek Picnic Shelter which is a great covered spot to have a water break or lunch.  Then continue on back toward the visitor center.  You can choose to go directly back or finish the Wetland Trail and add an extra .3 miles. 

Photo of trail sign

TRACKS Standards

    TRACKS was started in the spring of 2007 amid growing concern and research identifying a "nature deficit" in society. Since its inception, TRACKS has effectively infused many Bellevue programs and activities with its six key standards:

    • Teaching: teaches skills people can recreate on their own (Urban Cycling Techniques).
    • Recreation: provides a healthy option to enhance fitness (Family and Friends Snowshoe Adventure).
    • Adventure: offers opportunities for active, experiential learning (Teens Outside High Adventure Camps).
    • Competency: helps build skill mastery (Skaters in the Woods).
    • Knowledge: promotes understanding of the natural environment (Eastside Explorers Speaker Series).
    • Stewardship encourages and creates opportunities for stewardship and volunteer service (Stewardship Saturdays, Teens Outside). 

    Volunteer

    To volunteer with the TRACKS program, or if you are a teen looking for service hours, please email TRACKS@bellevuewa.gov.

    Look for TRACKS in the Connections recreation brochure to find classes, activities and events that are part of the TRACKS initiative.

    View Ken Burns' "National Parks: America’s Greatest Idea" clip about youth and the outdoors.

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    TRACKS - Tuesday Trails Senior Hike
     
    TRACKS - Tuesday Trails Senior Hike
     
    TRACKS - Tuesday Trails Senior Hike