This weekend will be your last chance for about a year to ride the entire length of the 11-mile-long East Lake Sammamish Trail that links the communities of Redmond, Sammamish and Issaquah.
The 2.5-mile north Sammamish segment will be closed beginning Monday so contractors can begin upgrading the narrow gravel trail into a 12-foot-wide paved trail.
The trail will be closed between 187th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Inglewood Hill Road. The county is offering no official detour. A bike lane is available on the shoulder of East Lake Sammamish Boulevard that runs adjacent to the trail.
The trail has been undergoing a structural and cosmetic makeover during the past few years.
The abandoned BNSF Railroad right-of-way that skirts the east side of Lake Sammamish opened 8 years ago as a narrow, gravel pathway that rolls past toney lakefront homes.
Plans call for King County to upgrade the gravel path to a 12-foot-wide paved trail with 2-foot soft surface shoulders on both sides its entire length.
It would serve as a blacktop link in a trail system 44 miles long that comprises the Burke-Gilman, Sammamish River, Marymoor Park, and the Issaquah-Preston trails.
More information is available online at the East Lake Sammamish Trail project website. You can find Real-time updates online. And an FAQ for the East Lake Sammamish Trail improvements is posted here.
Two sections are complete. They are the Redmond Segment (1.2 miles between NE 70th Street and 187th Avenue NE) and the Issaquah Segment (2.2 miles between SE 43rd Way and Gilman Boulevard).
The blacktop will make for easier travel for bicyclists, as well as skaters, and the widening will make the trail safer for more users. Intersections and driveway crossings will be improved as will fencing and sight distances.
Still, I expect the upgrade will change the scenery along the trail, so I rolled over there last month to photograph scenes along the North Sammamish Segment that will no doubt change.
The narrow North Sammamish Segment rolls along the lake for 2.6 miles.
Picnic shelter at Sammamish Landing Park.
Numerous driveways cross the trail in places.
Vegetation growing alongside the trail.
The trail overlooks Lake Sammamish.
Bollards make driveway crossings on the trail.
Bare trees are reflected in a trailside ditch on an old railroad cut.
Gravel is well-packed on the trail.
Meanwhile, planning is underway for the South Sammamish Segment, 4.8 miles between SE 43th Street and Inglewood Hill. .