Distance: ~13.3 miles
Time Estimate: 4-5 hours
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate (depending on the distance you want to cover)
Water Type: River/Creek
Directions: There are various drop-in points, depending on how far you want to paddle. If you would like to go the full stretch, I recommend Marymoor park.
- Marymoor Park – 6046 W Lake Sammamish Parkway NE, Redmond, WA 98052
- Wilmot Gateway Park – 17301 131st Ave NE, Woodinville, WA 98072 (Half-way point)
- Blyth Park – 16950 W Riverside Drive, Bothell, WA 98011
- The Park at Bothell Landing – 9919 NE 180th St, Bothell, WA 98011
- $1 parking fee at Marymoor Park
- Discovery Pass required at Kenmore Boat Launch
The Sammamish River flows for about 14 miles from Lake Sammamish into Lake Washington. The water is slow moving with the minimal current. There are several drop points along the river (mentioned above), but if you want to do roughly the full river, you will want to drop in from Marymoor Park. I say roughly because you can’t get into the river by SUP directly from Lake Sammamish.
If you would like to drop in from Marymoor Park, you’ll want to park at the backside of the dog park parking lot. From there, you’ll have to walk along the trees and bushes until you see a bank that drops into a muddy flat area next to the river. The grade is walkable but you can anticipate on walking through some heavy mud to get into the river. There is no perfect drop in along this area, so you’ll want to scope out the area before you start carrying your paddleboard down.
The water through Marymoor is the fastest water you’ll find along the Sammamish River, which is still not that fast. You’ll be welcomed by hundreds of birds and, on a clear day, schools of fish directly below you. Keep your eyes peeled and enjoy the opportunity to take in nature!
Through the duration of your paddle, you’ll run through housing developments, business parks, golf courses, parks, and quite wetlands. This is a very peaceful paddle that parallels the Sammamish River trail where you’ll see bicyclists, runners, and occasional fisherman.
While this direction on the river is downstream, I found that my SUP sat high enough on the water that I didn’t catch any of the currents that existed. Instead, I paddled against the wind which forced the surface water against me the closer I got to Lake Washington. That being said, don’t anticipate being able to float this river without it taking you a very long time.
You will want to try to paddle this river earlier in the year or later in the fall. Late summer, the water levels are so low you will not be able to get your paddleboard through. Even during early summer/late fall, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the floor of the river, as there are still shallow points.
If you plan to end your paddle at the Kenmore Boat launch, you can paddle just .2 miles past the boat launch and find yourself in Lake Washington.
I’m Liz Filion – I believe in chasing life outdoors by land & water. I’m a recent transplant to sunny Arizona all the way from the state of Washington. Wherever life takes me, my heart will always be anchored in the evergreens of the pacific northwest. I'm a runner, standup paddleboarder, and avid believer in seeking out adventure.Learn more