Bellefields Loop is the more wooded option of Mercer Slough's two main trails, making a small circle through the lush eastern side of the wetland.
Most people entering the Slough from the east side will do so from the small parking areas near the Education Center on 118th Avenue. A brief connector leads to the Loop. Both the trail and the connector are of the same composition: very soft doubletrack, made up of dirt, wood chips, and pine needles. Aside from some short ups and down on the connector, Bellefields Loop is very flat, and is a good place for beginners to get their off-pavement footing.
Follow the easygoing path as it makes a gradual clockwise circle towards the creek, passing another connector on its southeast corner. Dense trees open up to grassy fields as the Loop enters the swamp. The Slough Connector
branches off to the left as the loop turns north; taking this path will lead to a boardwalk and Heritage Loop
Bellefields Loop follows the creek, often visible to the left, on its western stretch. The abundant plant life blocks out much of the outside world, and this segment can feel miles from the city. Heading east for its final portion, the trail zig zags gently before reaching a fork.
Heading left will return to Education Center Connector
, or go right for another trip around.
Mercer Slough is a wetland preserve, and visitors can see a number of animals and plants which are hard to spot in other areas of the city. One sign advertises 113 species of birds, 25 species of mammals, and 19 species of fish, including river otters and coyotes. Plant life in the 320-acre park includes hundreds of species drawing from upland forest, scrub-shrub wetland, and open meadow habitats.