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Renton Trails: Cedar River Trail
After exploring much of the Cedar River Trail, I came away with one impression: The trail is a great place to bike, take a stroll or just wander.
While not always in a continuous path, the trail runs from the mouth of the Cedar River at Lake Washington past Maple Valley. I decided to focus on the most heavily used and local part, starting near Cedar River Park and running past Maplewood Golf Course.
I started across from the river from Cedar River Park, under I-405. To get there by car, take a right off of Houser Way South onto Mill Avenue South, then immediately take a left and follow for a short distance under I-405 to reach the parking lot. There is plenty of parking at that spot and you can choose to cross the river and make your way to Cedar River Park or stay on the south side of the river and travel along the Cedar River Trail, which I did.
Riding is easy along the wide, paved path and there are even gravel shoulders on some of the trail for extra space in case you run into a bigger group on the path — and you might need the shoulders at busy times. I rode the trail on a Sunday afternoon and while there was moderate traffic, I didn’t run into any problems. The only hills are gradual and don’t offer a challenge.
There are a few quick views of the river on the north side of the trail and the forest of the Cedar River Natural Area to the south. The Cedar River Natural Area is a 237-acre plot and the largest natural area in Renton.
If you like blackberries, there is a long stretch of brambles between the trail and the river near the beginning of the ride. After about a mile on the trail, you reach Riverview Park. The park features restrooms and a picnic shelter. The parking lot along Maple Valley Highway (2901 Maple Valley Highway) is another easy access point to the trail. There is also a walking trail from the park down to the river, to launch kayaks, canoes, etc.
Another mile or so along the trail and you cross a bridge over the river. At this point, the trail runs alongside Maple Valley Highway for a long stretch.
Another small detail that makes the trail useful is distance markers. There is a marker next to the trail every quarter mile, great for people training with intervals or anyone just curious about how far they’ve gone.
The terrain is easy, the scenery is nice and the trees provide shade for hot days. The Cedar River Trail is a great place to spend some time exploring Renton. It’s easy to reach from much of Renton and would be a great place to spend your lunch hour or some free time to get some fresh air.
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