WeOwnA Park

by Connie DeLaVergne on May 18, 2010

2.95 miles
55 minutes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (difficult)
long and steep inclines with switchbacks
6,653 steps
216 kcals
Weowna Park

Weowna Park is a gem! It’s an amazing, natural 90-acre open space in the middle of Bellevue suburbia. It is home to some of the largest and oldest trees in Bellevue and is at the eastern end of the beloved Lake-to-Lake Trail.

This walk begins at the top of Weowna Park. Leave your car at Lake Hills Park parking lot on the corner of SE 14 ST and 164 Ave SE. Walk East on SE 14 St following the trail bollards around and south to the second entrance into Weowna Park at the kiosk. Go Left into the park and stay Left to cross the bridge. Follow the trail until you get to the Y then veer Right and head downward.

old growth pride

One of the first things you’ll notice is the peace and quiet, and the song of birds. This is an old, thick forest with a lot of big trees and towering remnants of older ones. I really feel like I’ve stepped away from my life when I visit Weowna. I feel like I’m camping in the wilderness and with the ravines I get a really good workout at the same time.

One time I came face to face (within 20 feet) of a deer and we stood motionless staring at each other for about 20 seconds. It was amazing! I had never looked into the eyes of a deer before, and it didn’t seem afraid of me either, that was the cool part. Suddenly, however, it leapt into the brush and like that it was gone! Completely out of sight . . . then I heard a dog and his man approach and I started walking again. With a nod I passed them on the trail. I’ll never forget that morning.

Weowna view of Lake Sammamish

Most of the time, though, I see only a few people and I’m always surprised more don’t visit this park. The people I have met here are very proud of Weowna and seem to live in the neighborhood. One woman I met told me that the original community rallied to raise funds to purchase the land and proudly named it Weowna Park. Get it? We-own-a Park. I don’t know if it’s true or not but I like to think that it is because it is a very special place. I’m proud just knowing it’s part of my City of Bellevue Parks. I can only imagine how proud the original owners felt.

Now back to the hike, when you get to the T go Left and head toward the huge fallen tree and upward. This is where you should begin to feel your heart beat because it’s a rather long incline. At the top of the hill, cross the gravel road, pick up the trail and go down the steps to West Lake Sammamish Parkway and the Weowna Park kiosk, the one with the incorrect map on its front. (I’m not going to waste time explaining, just trust me that it’s wrong. Or tell me how it’s not wrong if you know.)

It is at this point that I turn around and walk back the way I came. You could head south on Lake Sammamish Parkway and pickup a trailhead back into Weowna Park on the southend of the park, but it’s a loud street without sidewalks and close to a mile down the road. I prefer to stay in the woods and benefit from the steep climb back up as it is here that the most strenuous and beneficial part of the walk lies.

big trillium or little thumb

Basically we’re now backtracking so take a minute and look around while you walk. There are some huge trilliums to be seen. This is a picture I took of a trillium with my husband’s thumb in the picture so you could get an idea of its size. I only wish I had been here a few weeks earlier so I could’ve seen its flower.

There are some really nice houses bordering Weowna Park too. The vegetation hides them well but I understand the desire to live here. The quiet, the greenery and the views are worth what I’m sure is a very steep asking price.

more old growth pride

When you reach the top of this ravine cross the gravel road, follow the trail downward and go Right, just past the remnant of an old growth tree. I’m standing next to it in this picture to give you an idea of its girth. It’s a big one that’s been down for about 4 years. I remember first noticing it on a walk in 2006. It was still wearing its bark back then and the parks department had to remove a chunk to clear the trail.

At the top of this ravine you will find a trail marker (or bollard) at the Y. Turn Right and walk until you reach 168 Ave SE which is the northern most entrance to Weowna Park and the first one we passed at the beginning of our walk. Turn Right and follow the paved trail back to SE 14 ST and your car. And there you have it folks, one of my favorite walks. I hope you enjoyed it half as much as I did.

Walk on my friends.

WALK ON!

If you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends (on facebook, twitter, etc.) and anyone else who might enjoy a walk in Bellevue.



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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

physician assistant June 18, 2010 at 5:00 am

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

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Connie DeLaVergne June 22, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Thank you and feel free to share.

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