A famous recreational attraction in Seattle, the Burke-Gilman Trail is a fantastic place for runners, hikers, skaters and cyclists. Maintained by both Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the Seattle Department of Transportation, Burke-Gilman unveils some of the best parts of Seattle including its lush parks, lakes and seafront area. After venturing into the charming street corners and whiffing the healthy sea air, stop over at a lovely neighborhood café, and try some of the local specialties.
Among the activities you can do at Burke-Gilman, perhaps the most popular one is cycling. In fact, cycling aficionados come from different parts of the United States just to experience the amazing trail. Even the city of Seattle has its own organized cycling community that keeps up Burke-Gilman’s contagious lively atmosphere. But the popular trail is useful not only to recreationalists and fitness fanatics, it has become a major thoroughfare for those commuting to work and studying at the University of Washington. Since its opening, Burke-Gilman has also been an integral landmark to real estate and businesses.
Commonly called ‘the Burke’ by the locals, the Burke-Gilman Trail is a full paved pathway that stretches to 43 kilometers or 27 miles. The trail is actually a part of the King County Regional Trail System. It specifically follows the right-of-way of the old Burlington Northern railroad, goes through to the city of Seattle, and stretches all the way to Tracy Owen Station in Kenmore. It has been welcoming outdoor enthusiasts since 1978. In 2009, Burke-Gilman became connected to another trail which goes through Marymoor Park. If you choose this path, you can cycle for 64 kilometers or 40 miles without any interruption.
There are many ways to start the trail, but a number of cyclists usually choose to start at Puget Sound, which is just at the entrance of the Golden Gardens Park. The Wayne Gold Course is typically the chosen end point for the trail. If you want to do something other than cycling ‘the Burke’, you can check out the Golden Gardens Park and the Sammamish River Trail, which serve as boundaries to the trail.
Other parks you will encounter while cycling this trail include Gasworks Parks, Matthews Beach and Tracy Owen Station. The Burke-Gilman Playground is another spot that is ideal for families tackling the trail. But if you are wishing for some adult fun, why not drop by the Redhook Brewery to taste some of the best local beer varieties.
If you are not a seasoned cyclist, do not worry! Gilman-Burke is easily accessible, relatively flat and is not a very demanding trail in terms of physical fitness. The trail is completely separated from car traffic so you don’t have to be worried about being run over. In addition, regular cyclists of the path are known to follow the standard trail etiquette for safety.
If you happen to be visiting Seattle without bringing your own bike, you always have the option to rent one at several locations in the city. There are even businesses who rent out accompanying kiddie trailers. The Dutch Bike Company is one of the rental places located just at the start of the Burke. It also maintains a lovely café that welcomes those who want a respite from cycling. Just close to the University of Washington in the University District is another rental placed called Recycled Cycles.