Motors Allowed?
Easy / Class A
13.80 mi (22.21 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Sammamish River connects Lake Washington to Lake Sammamish and offers kayakers numerous ways to explore the waterway. From Lake Washington, kayakers can paddle upstream fairly easily, exploring the tight waterway as it makes its way to Lake Sammamish​. From Rhododendron Park just north of Lake Washington, paddle upstream through golf courses, trailer parks, upscale neighborhoods, and lush wooded sections toward Woodinville. Since the currents are fairly weak, kayakers should be able to easily paddle most sections of the river before catching the current back to Rhododendron Park. This scenic and diverse waterway offers paddlers a fun trip close to the city. During winter months, numerous types of ducks, geese, and other birds can be seen along the banks of this winding waterway. On days when the weather is questionable, exploring this winding river is a great alternative to the open waters of the Puget Sound.

Alternatively, paddlers who wish to run a shuttle can paddle the entire waterway as it makes its way from Lake Sammamish to Lake Washington.  

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Washington Discovery Pass


Close to Seattle. Bird watching. Variable length.


Traffic noise. Possible shuttle required.


Covered picnic areas
Bird watching

Site characteristics: Water


Portage required




I was there today and came across the weir.I do think it would be important for people with kids, less experience, dogs, etc. to know that this is there. I didn't know how to get through it and will in the future put in after it.
So my wife and I just bought our Kayaks and took them out yesterday on this river. It was awesome!! We started at Idylwood Park in Redmond which is right on Lake Sammamish. From there we headed north and got onto the Sammamish River and took it to about a mile south of Redhook Brewery. It was so much fun!! My only advice for people who might want to try this route is be aware of the small damn right after the dog park in Marymoor Park. There is a canal that you can go through and then some really small rapids to go over (if you can even call them that. Lets just say they were all bark and no bite). However this part of the river was really shallow and I kept getting stuck on the river bed and my kayak kept bottoming out. My wife is really light and small said she didn't have any issues but Im a little bit bigger (5'9'' and 225lb) so it was kind of an issue for me. I would recommend bringing some water shoes with some really good grip or, if you have them, some Vibram 5 finger toe shoes with good grip to slip on during this part of the river just in case you need to get and out and portage your kayak/canoe to deeper water. On the way back we had to find a good spot to take our kayaks out of the water and walk a little ways through Marymoor Park back to where the dogs have access to the river and then get back in. Normally not a big deal but we were exhausted by this point and it was definitely a chore. Needless to say we will be investing into some kayak dolly's soon for such adventuring. All in all this is a really fun River to kayak on and a great place to take friends visiting the area and want a taste of the PNW.
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