The newest Rail-to-Trail in the Greenway

180 miles of trail in the Greenway are built on former railroad lines. These were the tracks that hauled coal and timber from the Issaquah Alps to Puget Sound ports or transported travelers and materials from Seattle to the Eastern United States. When these rail lines were no longer able to turn a profit many of them were transferred over to local governments. The corridors were perfect for trails: wide, mostly flat, and connecting many of the towns in our region. Our local governments have been diligently working away to convert the old lines to biking and pedestrian trails, so-called “Rails-to-Trails”.

The Greenway has dozens of them, including:

  • Burke-Gilman Trail – Seattle to Redmond
  • East Lake Sammamish Trail – Redmond to Issaquah
  • John Wayne Pioneer Trail – Rattlesnake Lake to Idaho
  • Snoqualmie Valley Trail – Duvall to North Bend

And now a new Rail-to-Trail is being built! The Eastside Rail Corridor follows the old Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line that moved freight from Renton to Snohomish, along the east side of Lake Washington. While most of the 42-mile trail corridor is still in an initial planning stage, two sections are now complete: 1 mile of the Redmond Central Connector (with another 1.3 miles scheduled for 2016) and 5.75 miles of the Cross Kirkland Corridor.

Bringing Value to Our Communities Through Trails

As a truly urban trail—traveling along the downtown cores, business hubs, and neighborhoods of these communities—the Eastside Rail Corridor presents a unique opportunity to both promote healthy lifestyles and strengthen local economies. Families with strollers, bike commuters,  joggers, co-workers on a lunch break stroll, and more will have a safe alternative to stay active and travel through their communities or to nearby towns.

This is the beauty of the regional trail system: we have the infrastructure to get people out of their cars and out into communities and nature to explore, learn, and play. They are what makes our towns and cities so healthy and why we continue to attract world-class companies and opportunities.

Eastside Rail Corridor – Ownership, Gaps, and Future

This 25-mile rail right-of-way in King County connects

Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville and continues on into Snohomish County. A 7-mile spur runs from Woodinville to Redmond. Redmond purchased 3.9 miles in 2010, called the Redmond Central Connector, and Kirkland 5.75 miles in 2011, called the Cross Kirkland Corridor. Gapsinclude a connection between the East Lake Sammamish Trail to the Redmond Central Connector; a connection from the Redmond Central Connector to Cross Kirkland Corridor; and the Wilburton Tunnel in Bellevue. The Port of Seattle acquired the Corridor in 2009, and King County acquired it in 2012. The goal is to develop trail facilities in conjunction with preserving a railway corridor for future use.


Eastside Rail Corridor map courtesy of Puget Sound Regional Council