Quote of the Month:

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own." - Charles Dickens

Mercer Slough Nature Park

Parent Category: Bellevue
Created: 08 January 2014
Address: 1625 118th Ave. SE
Bellevue, WA 98005
Phone: 425-452-2565
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Admission: Free
Wheelchair Access: No
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Park Features:
  • More than 7 miles of walking trails
  • Visitors center
  • Environmental Educational Center
  • Picnic areas
  • Blueberry farm
  • Canoe launch

Mercer Slough Nature Park is situated in several minutes from downtown and is considered to be one of the largest parks of Bellevue and the largest Lake Washington’s remaining fresh water wetlands.

The park offers to its visitors to explore more than 320 acres of wildlife habitat, freshwater wetland ecosystem, flora and agriculture. 

Here visitors will find more than 7 miles of walking trails and a very unique canoe trail that runs through the park. It should be said that every Saturday afternoon visitors can go for a free guided nature walk. Environmental Educational Center that is situated on the territory of the park and focuses on fresh water wetland ecology provides very interesting information and different programs for youth and families.

If it’s not enough the visitors are invited to the blueberry farm where they can buy some fresh products.

History tells us that before 1917 the territory of the park was a bay of Lake Washington, but when the Seattle Ship Canal and locks were constructed in 1917, the lake was lowered by ten feet and Mercer Slough became a flat. Farmers decided that this wet land would have been perfect for agriculture and as a result lots of flower, vegetable and berries farms grew here. In 1956 the City of Bellevue bought many of the farms and created this park.

Mercer Slough Nature Park is very popular among hikers. It offers more than 7 miles of walking trails, most of which are built on boardwalks.

The Periphery Trails is an asphalt trail which is ideal for bicycling, jogging or roller skating. It circles the perimeter of the park. The path may lead you to Newcastle Beach Park, Seattle, Factoria, Renton and etc.

The Heritage Trail can be found behind the Winters House. If you take this trail, you will be able to see old greenhouses, an abandoned rhododendron nursery and the blueberry fields.

The Canoe Trail opens great views of the Mercer Slough. If you take this trail, you will be able to see the striking contrast between the nature of the park and the urban beauty of the glass buildings. The City also offers guided trips on Saturday mornings May through October.

The Bellefields Trailhead is the most extraordinary trail in this park. It is located on the east side of the park and runs through upland forest, scrub-shrub wetland to the edge of the slough channel. This trail is full of informational boards and signs that tell visitors about the history, importance and benefits of the wetland.

Bellefields Nature Park is a Bellevue city park with a great trail. It should be mentioned that the biggest part of this park is below the original surface level of Lake Washington. This park is connected by the trail to Mercer Slough Nature Park. The trail is well-maintained and covered with wood dust. Here hikers will enjoy beautiful flora and wildlife habitat.

Driving Directions 

 Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center & Bellefields Trailhead Directions: 

From I-405:

  • Take Exit 12 for SE 8th Street 
  • Go west on Southeast Eighth Street 
  • Turn left onto 118th Avenue Southeast, heading south 
  • Go for about half a mile 
  • Just before the first MSEEC sign (in light blue), take the first right into the parking lot.  

From I-90:

  • Take Exit 9 for Bellevue Way, continue for one mile. 
  • Veer right onto 112th Avenue Southeast.   
  • Turn right onto Southeast Eighth Street. 
  • Turn right onto 118th Avenue Southeast. 
  • Travel about a half mile. 
  • Just before the first MSEEC sign (in light blue), take the first right into the parking lot. 

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Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Information: Marina Petrova

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