Fall Colors · River/Creek · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Environmental Education Center and Blueberry Farm keep hours, but the trails are open 24/7.
Slightly lower than the Bellefields Loop
, the nature park's other main trail, Heritage Loop is dominated by Bellevue's popular Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm, a seasonal u-pick farm preserved during the creation of the protected wetland.
There are a few ways to access the trail, including the Slough Connector
from Bellefields, the Park and Ride lot from the south, and even a small boat dock on the southeast corner. This route begins at the Winter House, a small historic home, on the northwest side. The trail runs along the parking lot before heading into the trees and turning east. Like Bellefields Loop
, it begins as a soft dirt doubletrack, though it won't last long, as Heritage Loop quickly turns into a well-kept wooden boardwalk.
The very short Ostbo Loop
breaks off to the right for a closer look at the wetlands, while the main trail turns left then right as it proceeds through the marsh. The boardwalk ends and the path returns upon reaching the creek. For the next quarter mile, rows of blueberry bushes stretch out to the right. In the summer months, hundreds of people converge here, a dramatic change from the usually quiet park.
As the loop nears Slough Connector
, the boardwalk returns. The previously mentioned boat dock is just after the bridge, and the Park and Ride Connector
follows soon thereafter. Unlike the thicker woodlands of Bellefield Loop, the plants grow shorter and further apart here, making it easier to see the area's abundant bird population.
Heritage Loop finishes by circling back along Bellevue Way. The busy road takes away from the tranquility found in the rest of the area. It's a short distance back to the Winters House parking lot.
Flora & Fauna
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.
Shared By: Brendan Ross