Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe

Bellevue, Seattle

Seattle + Tacoma Metro Area, Washington

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Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe


  • Canoers and kayakers enjoying the Mercer Slough.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • Paddling on the Mercer Slough.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • Bluebells along the shore of Mercer Slough.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • A great blue heron and a turtle enjoying each other's company on a log.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • A steadfast turtle stays put after its companions scatter.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • A drainage ladder along the banks of the Mercer Slough.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • Emerging back into the sunlight under the 114th Avenue SE bridge.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • A wide section of the slough rife with barely submerged logs.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • Paddling toward a footbridge in Mercer Slough State Park.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • Paddling toward the I-90 overpass.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • An exit ramp towers above.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • Under I-90, heading out to Lake Washington.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • Paddling on Lake Washington.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
  • Heading back in the waning light of the day.- Mercer Slough Kayak/Canoe
Overview + Weather
Close to Bellevue. Kayak-friendly boat launch. Lots of birds and turtles.
Crowded. Hidden logs just below the surface. Very narrow sections.
Seattle + Tacoma Metro Area, WA
Site characteristics: Water: 
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Portage required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Water difficulty: 
Easy / Class A
Current Local Weather:
Paddle Description

Paddle Description


This former marshy inlet of Lake Washington became the slough it is today when the completion of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in 1917 lowered the surface of the lake 8 feet and drained the wetlands. The Mercer Slough is an outlet of Kelsey Creek and is home to Mercer Slough State Park and a small blueberry farm. The Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center offers guided canoe tours of the park from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Launching from the very kayak-friendly Sweyolocken Boat Launch puts the I-90 overpass and Lake Washington to the south and the bulk of Mercer Slough State Park to the northwest. Heading into the popular Mercer Slough State Park, the slough flows uninterrupted for just under a mile when the path forks. Staying to the right, be sure to keep an eye out for turtles. The slough continues northbound for another half-mile where it forks again. The path to the right leads to a drainage ladder and a shallow, narrow, and dark tunnel under Lake Washington Boulevard SE, and the path to the left loops back around to the south and reconnects back through where the slough first forked. Use caution when taking the western path, as there are many logs hidden just below the surface. Following the slough south back toward the Sweyolocken Boat Launch and beyond leads under I-90 and into Lake Washington.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

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Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(109 within a 30 mile radius)

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