burke gilman trail
Burke Gilman Trail

The Main Drag

The Burke Gilman

Gets You From Ballard to Kenmore

Best Traveled On a slow-cruiser bike you’d ordinarily spot on a beachfront boardwalk—but not when crowds choke the path on summer weekends.

Road Blocks Though the trail starts at the beach in Ballard, there’s a hole between the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and the Ballard Bridge; otherwise the route is well signed at crossings and happily removed from the streets.

Stops and Sights Seattle’s classic trail—about nine feet wide and dimpled with bumps raised by tree roots—has no shortage of stopping points on its 27-mile trip, which starts at the sandy expanse of Golden Gardens. Without leaving the paved route, there are mile-wide views of the sound that give way to a leafy canopy that protects the Burke-Gilman from nearby houses. In other places the trail parallels Bothell Way for an energizing, if loud, urban cycle.

Stop along the Ship Canal (try Gas Works Park), cruise through the University of Washington campus (explore the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture), and trace the western shore of Lake Washington (top-notch fantasy house hunting). The reward: The taproom at 192 Brewing Company near the Burke-Gilman’s eastern end has a fireplace indoors and a beer garden outside, just feet from the trail. 192brewing.com/lake-trail-taproom