Soaring Eagle Park offers solace, plenty of recreation options
July 21, 2009
By Christopher Huber
As the sun creeps out from behind the shady trees, the birds begin their morning rituals. The call-and-response chirps and flutters fill the air with vibrant song. A plethora of critters emerge from the moist ground and dewy vegetation to start the day once again.
Butterflies drift along the trails and retreat back into the thick woods as one of the first early-rising mountain bikers tear through the park.
It’s a perfect day for a stroll through Soaring Eagle Regional Park just outside Sammamish. The park is known for its 12-mile network of trails, popular with area mountain bikers and equestrians. Because of its relatively small area, the park is conducive to quick bike rides after work or at night, according to the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. The trails can be bumpy and rough in some places, but are not too difficult.
Soaring Eagle Park also offers solace to those interested in taking a walk on their lunch break or families wanting to explore the backwoods before enjoying a picnic outside.
The 630-acre (one-square-mile) park, filled with mature forests and protected wetlands, is a refuge for black tail deer, black bears, bobcats and more than 40 species of birds, according to the King County Parks and Recreation Web site. About 300 acres of the park are protected under a conservation easement. It was named in 2001 by a second-grader at Samantha Smith Elementary School.
King County last year ceded 30 acres of the park to the city of Sammamish. In exchange, the city will be developing ballfields near the park’s Trossachs entrance, but planning has not yet begun for the process. Another 50 acres might be available (a 1993 plan called for the development of 80 acres of the park), but its future is uncertain.Soaring Eagle Park used to be Washington state school trust land, known as Section 36.
From the main entrance at the northwest end of the park, near The Plateau Club, the main trail (Pipeline Trail) guides you through the middle of the park, toward the south for about 1.5 miles. The south entrance abuts the terminus of Trossachs Boulevard.
The Pipeline Trail is well maintained and wide enough for small groups to walk side by side. It’s smooth enough for baby strollers, too, according to the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Parents with strollers, don’t plan on taking to the side trails, though.
Signposts are scattered along the trail at the opening of the smaller offshoot trails. The terrain is relatively flat along the Pipeline route, but some of the smaller trails vary slightly in steepness.
Visitors may enjoy the cacophony of birds singing, the colorful berries and flowers and the absence of other noises from the hustle and bustle of life on the plateau. But hikers need to be aware of possibly encountering animals. Black bears have been spotted as recently as June 24, so hikers should bring noisemakers, like a whistle or bells to tie to your shoes.
The park’s main entrance is at 26015 East Main Drive, Sammamish. From 228th Avenue Southeast, follow Southeast Eighth Street as it curves and becomes 244th Avenue Southeast. Turn right onto East Main Drive and follow to the end. The paved parking lot and trailhead is near the water towers.
Access the south side of the park from Trossachs Boulevard via Southeast Duthie Hill Road. Park on Trossachs Boulevard. Hikers can also access the park from Beaver Lake Preserve, along West Beaver Lake Drive. Go to www.kingcounty.gov/recreation for more information and a map of Soaring Eagle Park.