Every time I’m in Bellevue, it seems like the city is getting bigger and bigger. Don’t get me wrong — I love the big city feel. That’s why I live in Seattle. I enjoy the hustle and bustle. But at the same time, I also like to get a break from the busy city. There’s no better place to getaway in Bellevue than Mercer Slough Nature Park.
The Mercer Slough Nature Park is one of Lake Washington’s largest remaining fresh water wetlands. At 320 acres, it’s also one of the biggest parks in Bellevue. The highlight of the Mercer Slough Nature Park is the 7+ miles of trails (click here for a trail map), which are made up of boardwalks, soft surface paths, and asphalt walkways.
You can also find a unique canoe “trail” (which is simply the slough running through the park) at the nature park. It’s called a canoe trail, but several people kayak and stand up paddle board through the slough. The city even offers guided tours of the canoe trail on Saturday mornings in May-September.
There are several different locations to access Mercer Slough Nature Park:
WEST SIDE OF PARK
- Winters House Visitor Center — 2102 Bellevue Way SE
- Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm — 2380 Bellevue Way SE — (open April-October)
- Sweyolocken Boat Launch — 3000 Bellevue Way SE
EAST SIDE OF PARK
- Bellefields Trailhead — 2101 118th Ave SE
- Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center — 1625 118th Ave SE
The Mercer Slough Nature Park has the word “nature” in it for a reason. The park is home to 113 species of birds (I saw plenty of swallows and an osprey when I was there), 25 species of mammals (including river otters, mink and coyotes), and 19 species of fish. There are also hundreds of plant species at the park. There are free guided nature walks every Saturday, year-round at 2pm (meet at the Visitor Center at the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center).
You feel like you’re in a totally different world when you visit the nature park. You’re surrounded by green trees and plants, you hear birds singing all around you, and you stroll right along a peaceful waterway — even though you’re just minutes from downtown Bellevue (you can actually see the buildings from several parts of the park). Do you need to getaway? This is the answer.
Have you ever visited Mercer Slough Nature Park? How was your experience? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more fun places to visit!