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Trip Report

Phantom Lake Loop — Friday, Jan. 8, 2016

Puget Sound and Islands
View west from Robinsglen Nature Park. Quantum Guru photo.
Parts of this hike in Bellevue's suburban east end are more rustic than you might expect. I began at the small Lake Hills Greenbelt parking lot along 156th Ave SE, south of the intersection with SE 16th St. For openers, I took the path leading past the restroom and heading down toward the west shore of Phantom Lake. Along the way, a signboard offers the obvious comment "Water Flows Downhill," but expands upon that by explaining how excavations by early settlers such as Henry Thode had a major impact on the lake levels and stream flows in the area. I continued on to the lake shore, where a pier leads out to a viewing platform that offers a great view across Phantom Lake. The air was a somewhat hazy today, but I enjoyed the view across the lake and a bit beyond. I then returned to the parking area and took the gravel path up to the sidewalk that heads south along 156th Ave SE. I crossed SE 24th St and turned east on the wide sidewalk. Soon, it becomes a blacktop path that weaves in and out of the trees, with remnants of a much older dirt path visible and still in use nearby. East of 166th Ave SE the street begins to arc around to the left and it becomes 168th Ave SE. For the next half mile or so it follows the western boundary of Weowna Park, sometimes passing into the edge of the park, with views down into the dark forest. At SE 16th St I turned west. There is no sign here to indicate that SE16th St offers anything more than suburban homes, but at its western dead end tiny Robinsglen Nature Park, a green area with no facilities, provides access to the lake shore and views across the lake. I returned back east to 168th Ave SE and followed that street as it bends around to the west, becoming SE 14th St. In a few blocks, the path passes through the rustic boundary of Lake Hills Park, then heads southwest along SE Phantom Way. Soon, the street becomes SE 16th St. At the intersection with 156th Ave SE, I turned south and returned to my trailhead. In spite of the "urban" environment of this hike I encountered only five other hikers on the trails today. This is an easy and enjoyable hike on trails that often are bordered by trees on one side, and sometimes on both sides. The total distance around the loop itself is about 2.7 miles, and the two side trips to the view the lake shore add an additional half mile or so. Elevation change seems to be about 100 feet. A trails map can be downloaded from (Click on "Detailed map of the Phantom Lake Walkway," not on "Map/Directions.")
Robinsglen Nature Park. Quantum Guru photo.
Paved path or dirt path. Your choice. Quantum Guru photo.
View across Phantom Lake from west shore. Quantum Guru photo.
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