The grand opening celebration for the East Lake Sammamish Trail is set for noon Saturday (October 7), a moment decades in the making.
Meet at the trail parking lot in Redmond across the trail from Whole Foods for a family-friendly party and banner break. Then you can ride in peace all the way to Issaquah thanks to this trail, which has been under-construction in phases for more than a dozen years.
Come join us for the East Lake Sammamish Trail Grand Opening! It’s time to celebrate the long-awaited opening of this amazing trail. Get ready to explore the scenic beauty from Redmond to Issaquah as we gather at the East Lake Sammamish Trail Parking lot in Redmond on the big day. Whether you’re a walker, cyclist, or simply a nature enthusiast, this event is perfect for you. Bring your friends, family, and furry companions to enjoy a day full of adventure and fun. Kids encouraged! Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to be part of the grand opening of the East Lake Sammamish Trail!
Paving the trail has been an advocacy effort going back at least 26 years when King County acquired the old rail corridor in 1997, and arguments over the whole trail project go back to at least 1982. Following an abandoned rail line, the trail was initially created as a skinny gravel trail that had become rather worn out before paving work began. Nearby property owners also encroached on the public right of way in a number of way throughout the years, further reducing public access to this public land and lakeside. King County Parks had to navigate intense legal fighting to make this trail happen, which added significant delays and costs to the project. But after the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear the appellant group’s appeal in 2019 (yes, really), construction was finally cleared to begin.
The trail is opening with connections to a vast network of regional trails, many of which were hardly even dreams back when people first started advocating this trail along the lake. It plugs into the Redmond trail network, which connects to the Sammamish River Trail (and, therefore, the Burke-Gilman Trail), the 520 Trail, and the in-development EasTrail. On the south side, it connects to the Issaquah-Preston Trail and the I-90-adjacent bike route to Bellevue and beyond (though this route still needs work). The regional trail network is coming together.
Literal generations of advocates with Cascade Bicycle Club and the Friends of the East Lake Sammamish Trail have put in time and effort to make this happen. I’m sure there were many days where advocates thought they had wasted their time because it was never going to happen. But it did happen, and that deserves a celebration.