At 320 acres, the Mercer Slough is Lake Washington's largest remaining natural freshwater wetland, and it can easily be explored via the park's 7-mile trail and boardwalk system or on the 2.4-mile long slough. Popular with kayakers, canoers, hikers, and bird watchers, the nature park is also a distinct preserve that provides a glimpse into Bellevue's rich agricultural history, where a historic blueberry farm has been converted into a self-serve heaven for berry-pickers.
Established in the 1940s, the Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm (now managed by Bellevue Parks and Recreation) is best accessed from the Bill Pace Fruit and Produce parking area, and it offers row-upon-row of Washington's native berry bush. The farm allows visitors to pick their own berries, and a check-in at any one of the park's produce stands is requested. Blueberry picking tends to be at its best from mid-July through early October, but this can vary from year-to-year based on seasonal climate.
To access the slough, non-motorized boats can be launched at the Sweyolocken Boat Launch, located off of Bellevue Way on the southwest corner of the park. Boats can also be launched and rented (contact Cascade Canoe and Kayak rentals at 425.430.0111) at Enatai Beach Park just to the west, under I-90 (3519 108th Avenue SE). Guided tours of the slough can also be booked by visiting www.MyParksAndRecreation.com or by calling 425.452-2565.
A collaboration between the City of Bellevue and the Pacific Science Center, the MSEEC was specifically created to educate individuals and kids about freshwater wetland ecology. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the LEED* Gold certified MSEEC also acts as a visitor center for the park and features classrooms, a community building, natural resource library, restrooms, and a "tree house." The center hosts ranger-lead programs (including a nature walk every Saturday at 2 p.m.) and on-going art exhibits curated by the Eastside Association of Fine Arts.
* LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating. LEED is a third-party certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design
Located on the west side of Mercer Slough Nature Park just north of Bill Pace Fruit and Produce, the Winters House is a Mission Revival-style structure originally built for Frederick and Cecilia Winters in 1929. Today, the house is the City of Bellevue's only building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it serves as an event center for the park, a wedding ceremony location, and is the home of the Bellevue Historical Society. To book the facility for an event, contact the parks scheduling office at 425.452.6914 or [email protected]. For more information on the house's amenities and capacity limitations, visit the Winters House website.