Utility Right-of-Ways Hide Accessible Trails in Plain Sight

For a unique hiking experience, try the hidden-in-plain-sight utility right-of-way trails. There are several in the greater Seattle area. The following trail trio offers something for seasoned hikers as well as those looking for a leisurely nature walk.

PSE Powerline Trail

PSE Powerline Trail is a 6-mile trail along the Puget Sound Energy utility easement from the Sammamish River Trail to Farrel-McWhirter Park. Travel the rolling hills and take in views of the Sammamish Valley and the Bear Creek watershed. From Willows Road NE, the trail is a paved route to the Sammamish River. The trail crosses the river and the Sammamish River Trail, then continues east over Education Hill as a soft-surface trail to Farrel-McWhirter Park, which is home to farm animals and an equestrian riding school. Within the 68-acre park you’ll find a 2.1-mile loop trail within a densely forested area.

Elevation gain: 741 feet

Accessible year round


Tolt Pipeline Trail

The 12-mile Tolt Pipeline Trail is an unpaved trail on the utility easement corridor that runs from Bothell to the Snoqualmie Valley. The pedestrian, equestrian and mountain bike trail rises and falls through peaks and valleys following the pipeline that brings water from the South Fork Tolt Reservoir to Seattle. The massive moss-covered pipeline is a central feature of this route. Starting near the Sammamish River Trail above Blyth Park in Bothell, the trail passes through neighborhoods and natural areas. Along the way, it passes Norway Hill, Woodinville wineries, equestrian estates in Hollywood Hills, Avondale, Bear Creek  and the Snohomish River before reaching Kelly Road east of Duvall. The trail offers views of  Seattle and the Cascades.

Elevation gain: 650 feet

Accessible year round


BPA Trail

The 3.6-mile BPA Trail within the City of Federal Way is a paved path that follows the wide-open spaces of the Bonneville Power Administration power line corridor from the city’s southern boundary to Celebration Park via the King County Aquatics Center. The trail has a number of soft surface stretches to accommodate mountain bikers or runners, as well as a wide, paved surface for cyclists and walkers. Catch a glimpse of resident rabbits snacking among the scotch broom as you meander along the trail. A 1-mile spur known as the West Campus Trail provides a greenway connection to SW 320th Street.

Elevation gain: 243 feet

Accessible year round

Image of PSE Powerline Trail

Susan Wyatt

A Western Washington native, Susan Wyatt writes about health and wellness, pets, travel, etc. etc. In her off-hours she enjoys gardening, reading and playing bagpipes. She lives in Issaquah with a ginger cat named Vinny (aka Yawny McYawnface).

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