A famous recreational attraction in Seattle, Burke-Gilman Trail is a fantastic place for runners, hikers, skaters, and cyclists. Maintained by Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Seattle Department of Transportation, Burke-Gilman features some of the best parts of Seattle, including its lush parks, lakes, and waterfront area. After venturing into the charming street corners and smelling the healthy sea air, stop at a charming neighborhood café and sample some of the local specialties.
Among the activities you can do in Burke-Gilman, perhaps the most popular is cycling. In fact, cycling fans come from different parts of the United States just to experience the incredible trail. Even the city of Seattle has its own organized cycling community that maintains the infectious and lively Burke-Gilman atmosphere. But the popular trail is useful not only for recreationists and fitness fanatics, it has become an important route for commuters and students at the University of Washington. Since its opening, Burke-Gilman has also been an integral milestone for real estate and businesses.
Commonly called ‘the Burke’ by locals, the Burke-Gilman Trail is a fully paved road that stretches up to 43 kilometers or 27 miles. The trail is actually part of the King County Regional Trail System. Specifically, it follows the right-of-way of the former Burlington Northern Railroad, through the city of Seattle, and extends to Tracy Owen Station in Kenmore. It has been welcoming outdoor enthusiasts since 1978. In 2009, Burke-Gilman connected to another trail that passes through Marymoor Park. If you choose this path, you can pedal 64 kilometers or 40 miles without any interruption.
There are many ways to start the trail, but several cyclists generally choose to start at Puget Sound, which is right at the entrance to Golden Gardens Park. The Wayne Gold Course is usually the chosen end point for the trail. If you want to do more than bike ‘the Burke’, you can visit the Golden Gardens Park and the Sammamish River Trail, which serve as limits to the trail.
Other parks you’ll find while biking this trail include Gasworks Parks, Matthews Beach, and Tracy Owen Station. The Burke-Gilman Playground is another great spot for families tackling the trail. But if you want some adult fun, why not stop by Redhook Brewery for some of the best varieties of local beer.
If you are not an experienced cyclist, don’t worry! Burke-Gilman is easily accessible, relatively flat, and not a very demanding trail in terms of physical fitness. The trail is completely separated from car traffic so you don’t have to worry about getting run over. Additionally, regular road cyclists are known to follow standard road etiquette for safety.
If you visit Seattle without bringing your own bike, you always have the option of renting one at various locations in the city. There are even companies that rent the trailers for children that accompany them. The Dutch Bike Company is one of the rental locations located right at the beginning of the Burke. It also maintains a beautiful cafe that welcomes those who want a respite from cycling. Near the University of Washington, in the university district, is another rental place called Recycled Cycles.