Bellevue Washington: The Center of the Pinwheel of Great State Parks

Bellevue, Washington, is a small city just east of the great city of Seattle. The two are separated by Lake Washington, just a hop, skip, and a jump away. With its proximity to one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, it enjoys the best of both worlds: it’s becoming a bustling metro center in its own right while maintaining its reputation as one of America’s great outdoors destinations.

Bellevue residents and visitors alike enjoy easy access to a variety of state parks that surround the like a pinwheel. The outdoor enthusiast can relax in a comfortable modern urban setting, and in a few minutes, enjoy the surrounding wonders of nature in Washington State parks. We will be reviewing just a few.

1) Lake Sammamish State Park

This park is a day park; there is no camping. That doesn’t stop Lake Sammamish from being a major draw due to its hiking trails, the ballfields, and playgrounds. Dogs are welcome, but they must be kept leashed and away from the beaches. If you do not have a boat that is not a problem. Boat rentals are available for all to enjoy the lake. There are also good picnic facilities and restroom.

2) Bridle Trails

Bridle Trails is appropriately named. This park is of interest to horse lovers. Like Lake Sammamish, it is a day only park with no camping. It is a 489-acre park with 28 miles of trails for horseback riding. Hikers use these trails as well. Dogs must be on a leash. This park has four arenas where horse shows are conducted.

3) Squak Mountain State Park

There is an actual mountain at Squak Mountain that is 2,024 feet high and is perfect for viewing Seattle. This park is also more than triple the size of Bridle Trails at 1,591 acres. It has 13 miles of hiking trails and 6 miles of horse trails. It has a popular ruin known as the Bullitt House stone fireplace. There are picnic tables near the ruin and at the trailhead. 

4) Blake Island

Blake Island is a park where camping is allowed. There are 44 campsites, four restrooms, and a shower area. This park can only be reached by boat. There is a Native-American establishment called Tillicum in the park. Visitors to Tillicum can visit the specially decorated longhouse and eat traditionally roasted fish and hear storytelling in front of a bonfire. You can go saltwater fishing and clamming at Blake Island, too.

5) Flaming Geyser State Park

When miners attempted to dig a well at this park, it produced a plume of methane gas which caused water to shoot up about eight meters. The methane has since been depleted, and now there is only the crater surrounded by a rock basin. This one is also a day park with no camping, but it is a favorite for those hobbyists who enjoy flying radio-controlled airplanes or drones. It is also great for picnicking with four enclosed pavilions with picnic tables and another 200 unsheltered picnic tables.

With all of these amazing outdoor experiences, adventurers and nature lovers flock to the city. If you’re looking for a great Bellevue hotel to use as a home base to explore these parks, here are some good options.

The Hyatt House Seattle/Bellevue is a popular choice. This stylish, modern hotel can make a nice contrast to the rustic conditions outdoors. After a long day hitting the trails, riding horses, or fishing, it’s nice to come back to a sophisticated hotel that offers free Wi-Fi, a complimentary breakfast, and a pool to relax in.

The Westin Bellevue is another upscale hotel. You can get gorgeous views of Seattle and Bellevue to complement the natural sights you’ll see all day. Guests can enjoy its Jacuzzi, tasty on-site dining, and other amenities that make staying here a pleasure.