Trees and grass in the location where the new segment of the Lake to Sound Trail will end

Lake to Sound Trail: Linking Trails, Communities, and Nature

by Lizz Giordano

On Wednesday, March 30, King County Parks broke ground on the third segment of the Lake to Sound Trail. Once fully completed, the 16-mile multiuse path will link the southern tip of Lake Washington to the Puget Sound — from Renton to Des Moines — connecting several south King County cities and trails along the way. 

The latest 2.2-mile segment will start in southern Burien, then run along SeaTac’s western edge, ending about a half-mile west of the Angle Lake light rail station. The segment is set to open late next year.

Wednesday afternoon, King County Councilmembers Dave Upthegrove and Joe McDermott gathered with King County Parks Director Warren Jimenez, SeaTac Mayor Jake Simpson, Burien Councilmember Sarah Moore, and Washington State Transportation Assistant Secretary Julie Meredith for a ceremonial dirt tossing at the southern edge of the new segment.

“Walking and biking trails like this are an essential part of a healthy community,” Councilmember Moore said. “It’s especially important for communities like Burien, which in the past have not enjoyed trail infrastructure like we see today, which [brings] significant recreational and transformational benefits.”

During the short press conference, Simpson, SeaTac’s mayor, called this a much-needed segment that will enhance the walkability of the neighborhoods it passes through.

“There’s something very attractive, still, about going out and getting on the open trail and exploring,” Upthegrove said. “We are opening the imagination and that world of possibility for so many people.”

A typical section of the asphalt multiuse trail will stretch 12 feet wide with 2-foot shoulders on each side. Open to bicyclists, pedestrians, joggers, skaters, strollers, and wheelchairs, the path meanders around creeks and along roadways.

When the larger Lake to Sound Trail is finished, it will connect to several regional paths, including the Cedar River Trail, Interurban Trail, Green River Trail, and Eastrail. And it will also tie into the transit network passing by Angle Lake Station and Tukwila’s light rail and Sounder stations. 

The existing sections of trail provide much-needed access to nature for thousands of residents in south King County, said Vicky Clarke, policy director at the Cascade Bicycle Club, in an email. The organization worked with King County and local cities to design the trail.

“The Lake to Sound, once complete, stands to be a new regional asset as well as a connector of trails and communities,” Clarke added. 

The Washington Department of Transportation provided the bulk of the funding toward the latest segment, chipping in $11 million. Another $2.2 million came from the King County Parks Levy, along with a $600,000 grant from the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office.

From left to right: King County Parks Director Warren Jimenez, King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, SeaTac Mayor Jake Simpson, King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, Washington State Transportation Assistant Secretary Julie Meredith, and Burien Councilmember Sarah Moore gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony for the latest segment of the Lake to Sound Trail on Wednesday, March 30. (Photo: Lizz Giordano)

Planning for the Lake to Sound Trail project began in 2008, with the first segment completed in 2018. It runs 1.5 miles along Des Moines Memorial Drive, from S. 156th St. to S. Normandy Road. The second, a 1.2-mile section that opened in 2020, connects Fort Dent Park in Tukwila with Renton’s Black River Riparian Forest and Wetland.
“Developing this Lake to Sound Trail is really an example of the commitment to partnering with cities to build a much-needed recreational trail infrastructure,” said Jimenez, director of King County Parks. “This trail is also a picture of connectivity, bringing together five cities.”

Lizz Giordano is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Seattle’s Rainier Valley focusing on transit and housing. She can be reached on Twitter @lizzgior, and more of her work can be found on her website.

📸 Featured Image: The 2.2-mile segment will start in south Burien, then run along SeaTac’s western edge, ending here, about a half-mile west of the Angle Lake light rail station, and connecting into the Des Moines Creek Trail. (Photo: Lizz Giordano)

Before you move on to the next story …
The South Seattle Emerald is brought to you by Rainmakers. Rainmakers give recurring gifts at any amount. With over 1,000 Rainmakers, the Emerald is truly community-driven local media. Help us keep BIPOC-led media free and accessible. 
If just half of our readers signed up to give $6 a month, we wouldn't have to fundraise for the rest of the year. Small amounts make a difference. 
We cannot do this work without you. Become a Rainmaker today!