Where’s Sara? Winter wander land on the Tolt Pipeline Trail

By Sara Graham

Whether there is snow on the ground or not, the Tolt Pipeline Trail is a great place to wander to walk your dog, hike, bike, run, ride your horse or take a leisurely stroll.

We are fortunate to live close to an amazing trail that’s waiting for you to explore and get some excellent exercise.

If you are new to the Northshore area or have been a resident for a long time, I am writing to tell you about the trail and motivate you to start the New Year off on the right (or left ) foot ? . The Tolt Pipeline is the best-kept secret for outdoor recreation and it is located right here in our backyard.

The trail begins in Bothell at Blythe Park and runs east to Duvall, roughly 12 miles one way with 1,065 feet of elevation. It is a 100 feet wide gravel trail covering a giant pipeline constructed in the 1960s to bring drinking water from the Tolt Watershed to Seattle.

It is still in use today.

The trail is the main artery running through the Northshore area, and it is a rollercoaster of ups and downs that is sure to get your blood flowing and heart pumping. The trail is not continuous, with sections running into Interstate 405, making good turnaround points.

The scenery for most of the route is rural forest and residential backyards. Keep your eye out for wildlife—I have seen raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, deer and even a mother bear with her cub. If you are lucky at dusk, you will hear owls hooting you on, helping you reach the finish line (your car). Be sure to take your headlamp for nighttime hikes. It is a ton of fun!

There are many starting points depending upon where you live. My favorite starts are:

1. Northshore Athletic Fields,14735 NE 145th St., Woodinville. Start here for the most continuous section heading east. You will begin on the Sammamish Slough trail leading toward Bothell. Look for the Tolt Pipeline Trail sign, turn right and start heading East toward Duvall.

2. Hollywood Hill off 168th Ave NE. You can head in either direction to get a great workout. You will be starting on top of the hill.

3. Avondale, Bear Creek Rd., Mink Road. Great starting points if you want to go further East.

All starting points have good parking. Be sure to leave NO valuables and lock your vehicle.

I hope I have encouraged you to get up and get outside to hit the Tolt Pipeline Trail—it is “Wanderful”! I hope to see you out there.

Happy Trails to you!


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