In 1926, the city of Redmond bought some land from Weyerhaeuser (an American timberland company), planning to use Seidel Creek for water supply. Additional acreage was bought to bring the watershed to 800 acres, though issues with the quality of the water led to the usage of other water sources.
Today, the Redmond Watershed Preserve is mainly a nature preserve, focusing on protecting a vast range of habitats including ponds and other wetlands.
Located minutes away from downtown Redmond (and Microsoft HQ), it boasts of over seven miles of trail, each catering to different users. And they connect to additional 400acres of hiking trails at Redmond Ridge.
Whether you are a hiker, a horseback rider, a mountain biker, a jogger/runner or casual visitor, there is something for you here. One catch though: dogs are prohibited in this preserve.
There are several hiking loops from the carpark. The Pond Connector Trail and the Siler’s Mill Trail winds through a dense moss-covered forest of Western Red Cedars and Douglas Fir trees to end at a pond. The scenery here is both tranquil and great place to refresh the soul. Regardless of seasons and time of the day, the air here is incredibly fresh, and especially crisp in Spring.
River otters, pileated woodpeckers, blue herons, bobcats, bald eagles, ospreys and snakes (only during the summer) can be found in this preserve.
Both the Trillium and Pipeline trails take you to the northern end of the preserve. These trails also intersect with the Powerline Regional Trail, which is named because it is beneath a set of electrical cables. With a reasonably wide path, Powerline Trail is popular with the bikers. On clear days, you can see as far as the Olympic Mountains.
Personally, I prefer the Trillium trail that winds through the lush forest, and which is open to horses. We have encountered several riders with their horses around here. It is really a pleasant trail for running. You just need to be careful about avoiding the horse poop along the way.
The Redmond Watershed Preserve is a huge oasis nestled in a suburban setting. With at least 800 acres of land, it is a welcome nature escape for all, and especially for those living near it so needs a daily break from technology.