Mercer Slough Slough Off

by Connie DeLaVergne on May 15, 2010

4.7 Miles
1 Hour 15 Minutes
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (difficult)
easy walk, 1 small hill
10, 644 steps
352 kcals, approximately
Mercer Slough Nature Park
Enatai Park

Mercer Slough Boardwalk

The Mercer Slough Nature Park in Bellevue, Washington may be a loud walk when it parallels I-90, but it’s a well-maintained and beautiful route through Bellevue’s shoreline, or slough.  It would be wise to caution you about bicyclists as this is a favored route that brings them quickly toward Seattle and zipping by at break-neck speed. Just be aware of their presence and stay to the right of the boardwalk when you see an approaching biker. They’re not hard to spot with their funny hats, black knee-length shorts and brightly colored spandex shirts that often match their bicycles.

That said, Mercer Slough Nature Park has gentle paths without hills that can be as strenuous as you want to make it depending on your pace. It’s a fabulous place to slough off those unwanted pounds, or work at it anyways. It is also a large park, boasting 320-acres in the heart of Bellevue. The path that I’ve mapped out for you here is only a small portion on the south end of Mercer Slough Nature Park.

Robin Glee

Most recently I took this route on what might have been the first sunny day of spring, 2010. Apparently I wasn’t the only one happy to see the sun. The birds were out in full force this day and singing at the top of their lungs, probably to be heard over I-90 traffic.

The Mercer Slough Nature Park is Lake Washington’s  largest remaining wetland which might explain why I always feel like a uninvited guest when I’m here. It is a diverse habitat for over 170 species of wildlife. There are interconnected boardwalks, soft surface trails and asphalt paths that surround the periphery. You could spend hours meandering into and around this unique urban wetland or you can do what I did on this particular walk–stay south, walk at a brisk pace to Enatai Beach Park and back again to Factoria Mall.

What I recommend is parking your car at the south end of Factoria Mall and heading South by foot on 124th Ave SE. Go West on SE 42 Pl and work your way down to Coal Creek Parkway and onto Lake Washington Blvd where you will pick up the paved bike trail and head North to the Mercer Slough Nature Park kiosk or park entrance.

Once you officially enter the Mercer Slough Nature Park park stay Left and follow the boardwalk under I-90 and all the way to Enatai Beach Park. It’s easy to find, but unless you intend to yell, don’t plan on having a heart to heart talk with your spouse on this walk. It is a loud one! It’s one of the few walks for which I could willingly plug in so in good conscience I recommend bringing an ipod and listening to a nature sounds instrumental. It will round out the south Mercer Slough experience rather nicely I should think. If you do plug in, be extra vigilant about those bikers I mentioned earlier:-)

Enatai Beach in Spring

Enatai Beach Park is a great mid-point, especially for the over-40 crowd because it is a state-of-the-art park with clean, gender-specific bathrooms. In season you can rent a canoe and visit the rest of the park by water. I’m going to do that next time because it looks like a load of fun and I can turn my walk into a day-long adventure without having to leave home base. I like that! It’s good for my butt and for the environment because I don’t have to drive a long distance to find nature. It’s in my own backyard, in my beautiful Bellevue!

As you can see from the photograph, Enatai Beach isn’t very busy during Spring, certainly not the morning I was there. In the summertime, however, there are plenty of swimmers and probably a lifeguard too.

When you are finished with Enatai Beach or your business or whatever you want to call it, follow the sidewalk back the way you came. Exit the park by turning South onto Lk. WA Blvd. This time we’re going to get to Factoria Mall from the north so we will turn Left or east on SE 36th St. When you reach 128th Ave SE, aka Richards Road, turn Right (south) and walk to the south end of Factoria Mall to find your car.

And that, my friends, is my Mercer Slough Slough Off walk. You just moved your body for 4.7 miles. Congratulations! You did your heart and your body a big service and extended your time on this planet. Your kids and friends and beloved spouse thank you for your effort, for the extra time you get to spend on this earth in good health and loving-well the people who love you most, including yourself. Good job!

That concludes my first WalkOn inBellWA walking post. Each week I will post a new walk complete with pictures, commentary and an occasional story or video. I hope you will visit this site again, and often. I would love it if you’d take a minute and make a comment below this post. Let me know if you’ve been on this walk before, what you think about it and any other information that my readers and I might find useful, please.

Also, you might want to join me and my walking companions for a group walk. We meet at specific locations and begin walking at 8:30 am. It’s a club that’s growing stronger everyday, just like me, and all the rest of WalkOn inBellWA members who move their bodies regularly for health AND entertainment.

Walk on my friends.


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison Snow May 15, 2010 at 9:34 pm

I’ve been on that identical walk and LOVED it! You describe the route and sights wonderfully well. I believe I have even been lucky enough to spy that very same robin! Don’t forget about Pace’s produce stand opening soon which will be a great alternate turn-around point. How can you beat a fresh walk in the fresh air followed by a fresh snack?


Connie DeLaVergne May 15, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Thank you Alison! I do believe I saw you on that walk, and thanks for the reminder about Pace’s produce stand. I look forward to visiting it soon . . . and exploring more of the Mercer Slough.


Ann Compton May 17, 2010 at 9:01 am

What a great description of what appears to be a beautiful walk! Great information of what to expect and what you gain! I love this sight! Makes me wish I lived in Bellevue again!


Connie DeLaVergne May 17, 2010 at 10:34 am

Thanks Ann! You don’t have to live in Bellevue to enjoy its parks and trails, you know. Why don’t you join the WalkOn group tomorrow at 8:30am. I think we’re going to do Weowna Park. It’s a woodsy walk with lots of hills–a good workout and beautiful too.


Pattie Dampier June 8, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Nice post! You truly have a wonderful way of writing which I find captivating! I will definitely be bookmarking you and returning to your blog. In fact, your post reminded me about a strange thing that happened to me the other day. I’ll tell you about that later…


Connie DeLaVergne June 22, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Thank you Pattie, I’m glad you like my writing. I apologize for taking so long to get back to you but your comment wound up in a spam pile that I only just discovered.

I’m curious about the strange thing that happened to you the other day, do tell.



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Connie DeLaVergne June 22, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Thank you, I will. Do I know your cousin?


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