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Originally published June 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 28, 2007 at 4:23 PM

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Walkabout

Meydenbauer Beach Park

Location: Lake Washington waterfront, Bellevue. Walk length: Short path to beach; long stairways up to bridge provide a good workout. Level of difficulty: Moderately...

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Location: Lake Washington waterfront, Bellevue.

Walk length: Short path to beach; long stairways up to bridge provide a good workout.

Level of difficulty: Moderately sloped paved path to beach and short, barked side trails.

Setting: This slender couple of acres slices down a pretty, fern-flanked ravine underneath a high roadway bridge to the Lake Washington waterfront on Meydenbauer Bay. Grassy lawns and native plants landscape this beautiful little park, which has a tiny sand-and-gravel swimming beach, broad lakeside steps to sit on and soak your feet, and picnic tables.

Highlights: Bellevue is not generally thought of as a waterfront city, and you have to know how to find this pretty little bay hidden away among tony residential properties. However, the waterfront area played a more prominent role throughout the city's history. Named after William Meydenbauer, one of the first homesteaders in Bellevue, the bay was the landing site for passenger ferries that ran from Seattle from the 1890s until 1921. It was also the site of Wildwood Park, a dance hall and popular weekend destination for Seattleites (located where the yacht club is now). After the Lake Washington Ship Canal opened in 1917, the American Pacific Whaling Company began storing its whaling ships in Meydenbauer Bay during the off-season.

After several years of acquiring land, the city of Bellevue is beginning master planning to reconnect downtown Bellevue with the Meydenbauer Bay waterfront, and increase public access and awareness of this historic area.

Facilities: Restrooms, water, phone and playground. Lifeguard on duty late June through Labor Day.

Restrictions: Leash and scoop laws in effect; dogs not allowed in park June 1-Sept. 15.

Directions: From Interstate 405 (northbound or southbound), take the Northeast Eighth Street exit and head west. After passing Bellevue Square shopping center, turn left on 98th Avenue Northeast. The park entrance road is on the right in four blocks.

By bus: The Bellevue Transit Center in downtown Bellevue is served by many Metro buses (206-553-3000 or http://transit.metrokc.gov) and Sound Transit buses (800-201-4900 or www.soundtransit.org).

For more information: 425-452-6881 or www.ci.bellevue.wa.us.

— Cathy McDonald, Special to The Seattle Times

Renton-based freelancer Cathy McDonald, a former geologist, has written about science and nature travel for 20 years. She's currently a travel guidebook editor at Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door. Contact her: nwwriter@hotmail.com

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