Burke-Gilman Trail

7204 NE 175th Street

Train and car, Bothell Way, 1930, Courtesy Railroad Historian Daniel Cozine
Rally against proposed Burke-Gilman Trail, Seattle, 1971, Courtesy MOHAI (1986.5.55062.1)
Burk-Gilman Trail from 61st Ave NE, Seattle, September 21, 2020, Kenmore Heritage Society photo by Suzanne Greathouse
61st Ave NE crossing Burk-Gilman Trail, Seattle, September 21, 2020, Kenmore Heritage Society photo by Suzanne Greathouse
Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad line (now Burke-Gilman Trail) opening day, ca. 1887

7204 NE 175th Street

The present-day Burke-Gilman Trail is located on the former railroad bed completed in 1887, making it possible for trains to travel from Seattle to Kenmore. Seattleites loved taking the Sunday afternoon train to Kenmore to see “the wilderness.” Passenger service to Kenmore ceased in 1941 but trains continued to pass through Kenmore for a number of years.

In the early 1960s citizens sought to have the Northern Pacific Railroad abandon its route through Kenmore to create a biking and walking trail. The line was abandoned in 1971 by Burlington Northern, a merger of the Northern Pacific, Great Northern and Burlington railroads. This allowed the Burke Gilman Trail to become a reality. The trail’s first 12.1 miles were opened to the public August 19, 1978 and went from Seattle’s Gas Works Park to Kenmore’s Tracy Owen Station at Log Boom Park.

The trail is named for Thomas Burke & Daniel Gilman who headed the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway in 1885. That company was taken over by Northern Pacific Railway around 1913, and in 1970 became part of Burlington Northern Railroad. Today’s Burke-Gilman Trail consists of 27 miles of recreational trail. The trail is enjoyed by walkers, joggers and skaters and also serves thousands of commuter and recreational cyclists.

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