Burke-Gilman Trail

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Burke-Gilman Trail
A cat watches over Lake Washington and bicyclists on the Burke-Gilman Trail
Length 19.8 mi (31.9 km)
Location King County, Washington
Use Multi-use
Map of Burke-Gilman Trail including proposed Green Route connection of the "missing link."

The Burke-Gilman Sammamish Trail is a rail trail in King County, Washington. The 27-mile (43 km) multi-use recreational trail is part of the King County Regional Trail System and occupies an abandoned Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway corridor.

The Burke-Gilman segment is managed by the City of Seattle south of NE 145th Street. The trail begins at 11th Avenue NW in Ballard and follows along the Lake Washington Ship Canal and north along Lake Washington.[dated info] At Blyth Park in Bothell the trail becomes the Sammamish River Trail and continues for 10 miles (16 km) to Marymoor Park, Redmond, on Lake Sammamish. [1] With the completion of a connector trail through Marymoor Park in May, 2009 the trail network continues to the city of Issaquah via the East Lake Sammamish Trail. With the addition of the connector, the longest unbroken segment of the trail currently extends 42 miles.[2] It runs 14.1 miles (22.7 km) between Ballard and Tracy Owen Station in Kenmore (its initial eastern end), or 17 miles (27 km) to Blyth Park. The Seattle Parks Department considers the Burke-Gilman segment of the trail to end in Kenmore;[3] The total distance from Golden Gardens Park to Bothell, including the proposed "missing link" through Ballard, is 19.8 mi (31.9 km). King County considers that the segments divide in Bothell,[1] Judge Burke and Daniel Gilman's original Road east ran past Snoqualmie Falls, before North Bend.[4][5]

Route and extent[edit]

This 1893 map shows part of the rail route that later became the Burke-Gilman Trail.

The trail is a substantial part of the 90 miles (140 km) of signed bike routes in Seattle,[6]175 miles (282 km) of the King County Trails System,[7] planned to become 300 miles (480 km).[8] The newest segment of the Burke-Gilman part, opened in July 2005, runs for 0.7 miles (1.1 km) from NW 60th Street and Seaview Avenue NW to the Ballard Locks.[9] The main trail resumes at 11th Avenue NW and NW 45th Street and runs 17 miles (27 km) to Blyth Park in Bothell. There, it becomes the Sammamish River Trail segment, which parallels the Sammamish River for 10 miles (16 km) to Redmond.[1]

Currently the trail runs along the Fremont Cut, Lake Union (an old freight depot remains visible at the foot of Stone Way), and through the University of Washington campus. After passing the University Village shopping center, the trail heads up through northeast neighborhoods, alongside the Hawthorne Hills, Laurelhurst and Windermere neighborhoods; through the Sand Point neighborhood, passing Magnuson Park, then alongside Lake Washington from just before the Matthews Beach and Cedar Park neighborhoods of the former Lake City, continuing on through Lake Forest Park and Kenmore to Bothell.[3] The trail throughout is nearly level with few large intersection crossings — it is a former railroad right-of-way.

A two-mile section of the trail within Lake Forest Park was temporarily closed for redevelopment from June 15, 2011 to February 12, 2012.[10]

Origins and extensions[edit]

Opening Day Excursion on the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad, site of the future Burke-Gilman trail, c. 1887[11] [12]

The trail can trace its origins to the founding of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway on 15 April 1885, by ten men headed by judge Thomas Burke and Daniel Gilman. In its heyday Burke and Gilman's road extended from Downtown north to Arlington and east to Rattlesnake Prairie above Snoqualmie Falls. Taken over by the Northern Pacific Railway in 1890 (or 1892),[4][5] the line became part of the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1970, and was abandoned in 1971. In 1978, the first 12.1 miles (19.5 km) of the right-of-way, from Seattle's Gas Works Park to Kenmore's Tracy Owen Station, was opened as a public trail and named after the founders of the railroad.[13] From Jerry Wilmot Park, south Woodinville, the King County Regional Trail continues along much of the old Burke and Gilman SLS&E line as the Snoqualmie Valley Regional Trail, past Duvall, through Carnation to Snoqualmie Falls, with the rail trail continuing east from North Bend as a cross-state trail from Iron Horse State Park.[14] The Snoqualmie Falls-North Bend link of Burke and Gilman's old SLS&E has become the line of the Northwest Railway Museum.[15]

As of 2006, there are extensions of the Burke-Gilman Trail at its western end: connecting the short and long segments between the Ballard Locks and 11th Avenue, and a northern extension along Shilshole Bay from NW 60th Street to Golden Gardens Park, and planning for connecting between the Ballard Locks and downtown Ballard at 11th Avenue NW and NW 45th Street.[9] A major point of contention regarding the remaining "missing link" project is the industrial nature of the Salmon Bay waterfront, through which this portion of the trail would pass. Many business owners are concerned about the safety and liability issues inherent in the convergence of trains, trucks, cyclists, and pedestrians, while the city and citizens groups claim the dangers are being exaggerated.[16] The trail overall can at times be busy and even crowded.[13]

Note: All Seattle urban trails provide an off-road path or sidewalk for pedestrians (separated from motor vehicles); for bicyclists, urban trails consist of off-road shared use paths, on-street striped bike lanes, and signed routes in the street right-of-way, where due caution is warranted.[3]

Daniel Hunt Gilman, Maine-born lawyer, railroad investor. Trail's namesake, along with judge Thomas Burke


The trail intersects the following:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Burke-Gilman Regional Trail". King County Regional Trail System. Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Parks and Recreation Division. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  2. ^ Long, Katherine (2009-05-15). "Sammamish trails tied to Burke-Gilman for a total of 42 miles". Seattle Times (Seattle Times). Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  3. ^ a b c "City of Seattle Bicycle Program: Burke-Gilman Trail - Maps and Mileage Info". Seattle Department of Transportation (DOT). 2005-08-29. Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
    "City of Seattle Bicycle Program: Burke-Gilman Trail - Maps and Mileage Info". From "The Burke-Gilman Trail",
  4. ^ a b Speidel, Bill; William Speidel (1967). Sons of the profits, or, There's no business like grow business: the Seattle story, 1851-1901. Nettle Creek Pub. Co. pp. 200, 205. ISBN 0-914890-00-X. 
  5. ^ a b William Speidel (2003). Sons of the Profits. Nettle Creek Publishing Co. ISBN 0-914890-06-9. 
  6. ^ "City of Seattle Bicycle Program". Seattle DOT Bicycle Program. 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
  7. ^ "Washington State Tour Planning and Bicycling Maps". Collection of maps and resources. WSDOT. 2006. Archived from the original (Web and PDF) on 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  8. ^ "King County Regional Trail System". King County Parks and Recreation Division. 2005-06-21. Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
  9. ^ a b "Burke-Gilman Trail Extension Projects". Seattle Department of Transportation (DOT) Bicycle Program. 2006-04-04. Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
  10. ^ http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/capitalImprovements/parkscip/projects/burkegilmantrail.aspx
  11. ^ Curtis, Asahel (n.d.). "Excursion on the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad, n.d.". Asahel Curtis Photo Company Collection. University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division. Retrieved 2006-07-21. 
  12. ^ Curtis, Asahel (1887). "Opening of Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway, Seattle, ca. 1887". Lantern Slide Collection. Museum of History & Industry, Seattle. Retrieved 2006-07-21. 
  13. ^ a b "Burke-Gilman History". Seattle DOT Bicycle Program. 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
    [Though page provides no references.]
  14. ^ "Snoqualmie Valley Regional Trail". King County Parks and Recreation Division. May 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  15. ^ "Collection". Museum Description. Northwest Railway Museum. January 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
    "References" Snoqualmie Valley Community Plan, City of Snoqualmie Comprehensive Plan, Mountains to Sound Greenway Vision, Recreation in a Rural Economy, Washington State Parks.
  16. ^ Bishop
  17. ^ "North Portion of City". Seattle City Clerk's Neighborhood Map Atlas. Office of the Seattle City Clerk. n.d., N-series maps .jpg c. 15 June 2002. Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
    Note caveat in footer.


Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 47°41′44″N 122°16′41″W / 47.69556°N 122.27806°W / 47.69556; -122.27806