Easy walks in the Bellevue area for seniors and their caregivers
We’ve still got some summer and some beautiful weather left, which means there’s still time to get outdoors in the sunshine.
We all know the benefits of being active and the mental health benefits of spending time in nature. Taking a stroll or a longer walk outdoors can also be a great activity for seniors and their caregivers.
This is especially true now with COVID cases on the rise, and the growing apprehension around any indoor activity.
Plus, getting outside is free! Unless you need a parking pass, which doesn’t apply to all the trails below.
So take a look at your options and get walking.
Coal Creek Natural area
5.3 miles out and back
The great thing about out and backs is you can always turn around when you’re starting to feel a little fatigued. If your caregiver and you only want to walk a mile, that’s not a problem.
Interested in history? The Coal Creek Trail offers plenty of it, since this area was once a coal mining mecca in the 19th century. You can slow down to read the kiosks, gaze at Coal Creek falls and even catch whiffs of burnt cinders on the trail.
Coal Creek Natural Area is easily accessible from the Bellevue area, and there’s plenty of parking at various access points.
Bellevue Botanical Park and Wilburton Hill Park
1.9 mile loop
Looking for an easy stroll to take with the senior in your life or activities for them to do with their caregiver? This mellow loop through the botanical gardens is a good one to start with. Most of the trail consists of gravel on a wide path, but at some points it turns into narrow paths and pathways with mulch.
There are also benches and picnic tables along the way for rest stops.
Click HERE to see the most accessible part of the loop, which ends up being .5 miles.
Mercer Slough Nature Park
2.7 mile loop
A slough might not seem like the most desirable place to get some nature time, but there are a few in the Bellevue area that will dissolve your doubts.
This slough features a wetland and meadows. The boardwalk connects the Environmental Education Center with the Bellefields Loop.
Lake Hills Lake to Lake Trail
3.1 miles out and back
This lovely urban trail follows farms and wildlife preserves.
For directions on where to park for the most accessible areas, read the trail description here. The southern portion of the trial is mostly pavement, and the rest is gravel or dirt.
Downtown Park Loop
.5 mile loop
The walk couldn’t be more straightforward- you can see your destination ahead at all times. The pathway makes a circle around the park’s canal. You can also extend the walk to one of the many other pathways across the lawn.
Lewis Creek Park Loop
.6 mile loop
This one is short and sweet, and makes a loop around a small wetland area. You might need a map in order to not get lost on the many other side trails.
Tradition Lake Loop Trail
3.7 mile loop
This one is one of my personal favorites, as it’s mostly flat with some elevation gain sprinkled in (305 feet). It’s definitely for a very active senior- since you would be committing to a loop and because the trail is made of dirt.
If the senior in your life fits that bill, then lace up your hiking boots or trail shoes and make sure to bring some water. You’ll be walking under a lovely canopy of trees and circling around the serene Tradition Lake. If you’re worried about running into animals on the trail, you can hike during peak hours- over the weekend and during the middle of the day.
Red Town Trail
1.6 mile out and back
Take this trial for a relatively peaceful walk/hike in nature. There is some elevation gain- about 173 feet- but doable for some. Most of the trail is level and wide, which can make it more approachable for seniors and their caregivers.
Douglas fir trees line much of the trail, as well as some remnants of history from the area’s mining days in the 1800’s, back when the man red houses were still standing.
Ask about companion caregiving
Depending on the mobility of the senior in your life and their caregiving options, any of these trails could be a great way to spend the day. It’s important to remember that the seasons are changing soon, which means these places will soon be not as safe to frequent with colder temps, puddles and even some frozen patches that come with fall.
So if your senior has the option and their caregiver is up to the task, grab your water bottles, some hiking poles and extra layers, and hit the trails!
Megan Marolf writes about senior topics and outdoor recreation from her home base in Seattle. You can read more about her here.