The Mercer Slough Nature Park is a 320-acre wetland lushly populated with ferns, shrubs, flowers, several varieties of berries, distinctive wooden boardwalks and shaded pathways. There are three main trails in the Park: the 0.8 mile Bellefields Loop Trail, the 1.1 mile Heritage Loop Trail, and the 4-mile Periphery Trail. Canoers and kayakers can explore the 2.6 mile Water Trail that flows through the length of the Park.
BELLEFIELDS LOOP TRAIL
Located on the east side of the Park, this route is made up of quiet sun-dappled dirt paths and wooden boardwalks winding their way around colorful vegetation. Start your hike at the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center (MSEEC). Stop in at the Visitor Center (open daily 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM) to pick up a trail map, browse an interactive library and learn about the animals and plant life found in the Park.
Exiting the Visitor Center, walk towards 118th Avenue SE and head south on the sidewalk for 0.1 miles. Pass a sign for the Bellefields Trailhead and in 0.1 miles turn right to enter the Bellefields Loop Trail.
Descend the dirt path onto the shaded trail and enjoy the bubbling stream greeting you at the bottom. Follow the path beside the stream, bearing right to continue the trail in a counterclockwise direction. Read about the wildlife and plants inhabiting the area on interpretive signs posted throughout the trail, keeping your eyes peeled for the yellow petals of the Creeping Buttercup and the red berries of the Sitka Mountain Ash.
After 0.4 miles, a wooden boardwalk appears on your right with a signpost directing you to the Slough Channel Bridge. Turn right onto the wooden boardwalk and walk 0.1 miles to cross the Bridge and pick up the Heritage Loop Trail, or continue straight on the Bellefields Loop Trail to finish the loop and head back to the MSEEC.
HERITAGE LOOP TRAIL
This a mild 1.1 mile loop trail on the east side of the Park that alternates between wooden boardwalks, dirt and gravel pathways. A hike on the trail can be combined with a hike on the Bellefields Loop Trail, a trip to the Winters House or a stop at the Blueberry Farm for some blueberry picking. Start the Heritage Loop Trail at the Winters House (open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM) to grab a trail map, take a tour of the historical house, and learn about the early settlers in the Park.
Exiting the Winters House, cross the parking lot to the obvious gravel trail and head south towards the Blueberry Farm. Turn left at a yellow fire hydrant, continuing down a dirt path to pick up the Heritage Loop Trail in a counterclockwise direction. Follow the wide, well-groomed path for about 0.2 miles, emerging at the Blueberry Farm. Continue past the Farm onto the obvious gravel trail marked by three wooden posts.
The gravel trail soon becomes a wooden boardwalk, and in about 0.2 miles you will reach an intersection signed “Lake to Lake Trail”. Turn left towards the Bellefields Loop Trail and continue winding your way along the boardwalk. Enjoy the lush vegetation, berries and pinkish lavender colors of the Hardhack springing up on either side of the boardwalk. In about 0.1 miles, arrive at the Slough Channel Bridge. Continue straight over the Bridge to explore the Bellefields Loop Trail, or turn left to continue on the Heritage Loop Trail back to the Winters House.
Continuing on the Heritage Loop Trail, walk along a dirt path with fencing on your left. Stop at the illustrated interpretive signs along the trail to learn about the logging industry and early settler activity within the Park.
About 0.5 miles past the Bridge, you will see signs for the Winters House Visitor Center. Turn right, following the signs for the Winters House to complete the loop. Take a break on one of the outdoor benches on the patio of the Winters House to enjoy a snack or lunch after your hike.
The Periphery Trail encircles the Park on a sidewalk and is ideal for jogging, walking and strollers. Access the Periphery Trail from the MSEEC, Winters House, Blueberry Farm or the South Bellevue Park and Ride. Learn more about the Periphery Trail from trail maps available at the Winters House, MSEEC or the City of Bellevue’s website.
The Water Trail offers a fun and unique opportunity for canoers and kayakers to explore the Park. Rent a canoe or kayak at Enatai Beach Park through Cascade Canoe & Kayak Centers, or bring your own and launch it from the Sweyolocken Boat Launch. Ranger led canoe trips start from Enatai Beach Park on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM. Check the City of Bellevue’s website for the Mercer Slough Nature Park for more information.
WTA Pro Tips
The Mercer Slough Nature Park is home to a seasonal U-Pick Blueberry Farm. Park at the Blueberry Farm and register your name with the attendant at the produce stand. Take one of the provided buckets and pick blueberries to your heart’s content, returning to the produce stand to pay for your bounty. Bring cash or a check – credit and debit cards are currently not accepted. The Blueberry Farm operates from roughly mid-June through mid-September from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, but check the City of Bellevue’s website for the Blueberry Farm before you go for seasonal updates.
The Visitor Center at the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center is located on the east side of the Park. It is open daily from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM and accommodates wheelchairs and strollers. There are water fountains and restrooms at the MSEEC, and roughly 22 parking spaces. Free guided nature walks are given every Saturday at 2:00 PM from the Visitor Center.
The Winters House is located on the west side of the Park, just north of the Blueberry Farm. It is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. There are water sources and restrooms inside the House as well as benches on the outdoor patio that visitors are welcome to use. The House accommodates wheelchairs and strollers, and there are roughly 33 parking spaces. Overflow parking is available at the Blueberry Farm and the South Bellevue Park and Ride.