FKT: Nikki Wilmore - Burke-Gilman Trail (WA) - 2023-03-10

Route variation
Out and back
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
7h 37m 40s
GPS track(s)

This is an urban trail; I suppose I should have known it would go through some pretty rough sections. My biggest recommendation for future runners is to not run it alone, as I felt unsafe most of the 7 plus hours I was out there. I came across aggressive homeless men and two other really sketchy men lingering around public bathrooms and crouching in the bushes. Please take all safety precautions when running this route. 

I started my out and back at Blythe Park in Bothell at the east side of the bridge over the Sammamish River Slough. I carried all my food and water and had no support people out along the trail. After just a few miles in Kenmore, the trail has its own underpass to avoid needing to stop at crosswalks. This is a nice idea however there were homeless people living in one of them. I know in general homeless people are harmless, however the day I ran some other female runners warned me that they were yelling at approaching trail users in an aggressive way and so I chose to take the sidewalk above and stop at the crosswalk. 

The trail follows along the north end of Lake Washington and this section is pretty with nice views of the lake, however this is when I came across a random man hiding in the bushes. I spent the next several miles looking over my shoulder as the trail was not very busy that day. Finally as you near the University of Washington district the trail has more people on it at least for that section. After the UW the trail passes the famous Gasworks Park which offers a really nice view of the city if you can spare a minute to veer off course for a photo op. 

After Gasworks and passing under the Fremont Bridge the trail ends at some construction near a Fred Meyer. There was a detour sign but it is a bit confusing because this is also where the trail's "missing link" is located. There are painted bike lanes in the middle of the street in this back alley type road, but there are also cars trying to drive there so I opted for the sidewalk. However the sidewalk was lined with homeless and this is again where I did encounter some aggression as a man shoved his shopping cart right at me. I found this "missing link" section to be very very sketchy and so I went up to the actual street to achieve some level of safety.

The conditions are terrible until you get to the Chittenden Locks and the trail finally returns. After the Locks, you pass by a large marina (who's bathrooms are not open to the public) And then at the very end is Golden Gardens park which was my turn around point for the out and back. 

On the way back through the "missing link" I tried to stay on the visible rail raod tracks that are left and away from any homeless men. Maybe someday they will fix/fill in this missing section. But I doubt they can do much about the homeless people living along the trail. I do know that in general homeless are harmless but that was not my experience on this trail. So just be aware and be safe.