Landsburg Park Trail

Location: Ravensdale

Length: 16 miles.

Level of difficulty: Wide level trail; paved from downtown Renton to 196th Avenue Southeast/Jones Road (about six miles), crushed gravel surface farther south.

Setting: Landsburg Dam straddles the Cedar River in the upper part of the park, and was built in 1901 to divert drinking water into pipes and control the flow of water downstream. Above this area is the Cedar River Watershed (off limits to the public), which provides two-thirds of the drinking water for Seattle and its suburbs.

After two crises in 1889 — the Great Seattle Fire and an outbreak of typhoid from sewage-polluted water in Lake Union — officials convinced the city it needed a reliable source of drinking water. By 1901, the water system was in place, making Seattle one of only six areas in the United States that obtains its drinking water from a protected watershed.

Highlights: The park marks the eastern end of the Cedar River Regional Trail, a converted Seattle & Walla Walla Railroad bed that extends to Renton. Walkers, cyclists and horseback riders use this rails-to-trails project; during the fall, look over the trail's bridges to see salmon (especially sockeye, but also chinook, coho and steelhead) spawning in the river.

Facilities: Portable toilets.

Restrictions: Leash and scoop laws for pets. When approached by a rider, move to the side of the trail and stand quietly, and know what to do if you spot a bear or cougar.

Directions: From Interstate 405 in Renton, take Exit 4 to Highway 169 and drive to Maple Valley. After crossing the Highway 18 interchange, in 2.8 miles turn left onto Kent-Kangley Road (Highway 516). Take the first left onto Summit Landsburg Road, and at the first stop sign (in 4.4 miles), turn left onto Landsburg Road Southeast. Go down the hill, cross the Cedar River, and park on either side of the road.

For more information: Call 206-296-4232 or see the Web:

— Cathy McDonald, Special to The Seattle Times