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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Mercer Island

Circumnavigate Mercer Island.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Morning was foggy, cold and smooth water conditions.  As the day progressed the fog lifted, sun peaked thru the clouds, water got a bit choppier as a slight wind prevailed.  In my opinion fall/winter is usually the best time for this trip because there aren't that many folks on pleasure craft.  We only saw one rowing shell, a sail boat, and a few motor boats with some of them anchored for fishing.  Plus fall foliage and lower sun angle made for nice viewing of the plush residences.

Launched from Enatai Beach park around 9:30 am.  We parked at the lot under the freeway because the closer lot was closed due to construction.  This is actually a good spot since the freeway provides protection from rain.  But it's a slightly longer walk to the beach. The restrooms were open at this time and seems clean.  The kayak concession is run by REI but was closed due to Covid.

We launched southward to go clockwise around Mercer Island.  First stop at Clarke Beach.  Not a kayak friendly park.  The only landing spot is a small trip of gravel beach in front of a low rock wall.  Visitor access to the water is via steps from the park walkway.  The restrooms were closed at this time.  After rounding the south end we paddled north a bit before heading to the north end of Seward Park for our lunch stop.  Nice landing beach here with a porta potty and a great view of the Seattle environs.  We then headed north, turned to the east around the north end of MI, then south after Luther Burbank Beach back to Enatai.

I prefer going clockwise around MI because there are more public accessible places to land on the west side in a pinch:  Groveland Beach Park, Miller Landing, Forest Landing, Franklin Landing, Proctor Landing, Garfield Landing, Slater Landing, Calkins Landing, and Luther Burbank at the northeast end of MI.  If I needed to use one chances are it would more likely be toward the tail end or last half of the trip when paddlers are more tired.  They're hard to spot so I suggest adding their GPS coordinates to an accessible database.   In fact I had a "clothing malfunction" after leaving the north end of Seward Park.  We landed at Slater Park to fix the problem.  However, in an emergency I'll land at someone's property and call 911.