Lake Sammamish State Park

Lake Sammamish is a beautiful freshwater lake located 15 miles east of Seattle and just a few miles west of Issaquah. If you're looking for a peaceful, secluded lake that is more tranquil than those closer to the big city, Lake Sammamish is ideal.

One of the best places to enjoy it is by visiting the 512-acre day-use park, Lake Sammamish State Park featuring nearly 7,000 feet of waterfront. The park also includes diverse natural wetlands, a salmon-bearing creek, a great blue heron rookery and one of the largest freshwater beaches in the greater Seattle area.

How to get there

From Seattle, take Interstate 90 east to exit 15 for WA-900 E/17th Ave NW. Turn left, following 17th Ave NW to NW Sammamish Road. Turn left onto NW Sammamish Road and the park will be on your left.

What you need to know

The park is open from 6:30 a.m. until dusk year round. If you'll be entering with your vehicle, you'll need a Discover Pass, currently $30 for an annual pass or $10 for a day pass. If you plan to fish, a Washington recreation license is also required.

Boaters will find nine watercraft launches here- a daily watercraft launching permit for $7 must be purchased, in addition to the Discover Pass.

Activities on the water and throughout the park

Fishing is a popular activity at Lake Sammamish with the opportunity to catch cutthroat and rainbow trout, Chinook salmon, smallmouth and largemouth bass as well as brown bullhead catfish. Kokanee and steelhead are also here but off limits.

This is Western Washington's premier small-mouth bass lake with quite a few here for many years; fish near the old pilings and submerged trees around the south end of the lake or around one of the docks, floats, or gravel-bottom beaches.

This is a quintessential park for summer picnics and an ideal lake for swimming, floating across the water in an inner tube or just enjoying a walk along the beach.

If you want to get out on the water but don't happen to have your own boat, you can rent a paddle boat, kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboards through Issaquah Paddle Sports with rentals available Memorial Day through Labor Day at Sunset Beach.

Bring a camera and a pair of binoculars as there is an abundance of birds that call this area home. Just a few you might see include eagles, great blue herons, green herons, king fishers, ducks and geese. Look for the eagles and their nests high up in the trees around the southern part of the lake. You might spot beaver or river otter here as well. If you hope to see a heron, sit in silence near the rookery and you're bound to spot one or more of these magnificent birds.

The park also offers several easy hiking trails and the opportunity to go mountain biking through natural areas on paved and dirt roads. You'll find sanded volleyball courts, two baseball fields and two "big toy" children's play areas here as well.

While the park does not include a campground, you'll find plenty of accommodation options in nearby Issaquah or Bellevue. It does feature 475 unsheltered picnic tables, plus 80 barbecue grills on stands. There are also two reservable shelters, including a kitchen shelter with two sinks and a center counter with electrical outlets. "The Rotunda" offers three sinks and a central fireplace.

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