Best Bike Rides Seattle  by Gene Bisbee

Best Bike Rides Seattle Guide Book

by Gene Bisbee (Falcon Guides)
Best Bike Rides Seattle  by Gene Bisbee
The Seattle area offers a wide range of bicycling choices. Urban riding. Hilly terrain. Flat routes. Rail trails. Forest roads. Technical mountain-biking trails. Flowy single track. They’re all in this guide. The rich history of rail transportation here has left behind many rail-totrail conversions that grace many areas with no-traffic routes that stretch on for miles. Trails accessible to mountain bikers wend deep into many parks and preserves below the towering Douglas fir and western red cedar and over small streams. We can thank the local bicycle clubs, alliances, and those who rode before us for advocating for safer streets and more access to trails. Their work has paid off in creating so many choices when it comes time to go on a bike ride.

© 2014 Gene Bisbee/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Bike Rides Seattle" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 40.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 40.

Bainbridge Island is easily reached by a ferry ride from a terminal in downtown Seattle. It’s the destination for thousands of hardy bicyclists in the Chilly Hilly Bicycle Classic at the end of February every year. If the idea of pedaling along on narrow roads on a damp winter day doesn’t excite you, then you can follow this modified route around the island and pick your season and your companions.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 34.4
Mountain bikers who enjoy easygoing single track or challenging trails with lots of tight turns will both be happy in this square mile of second-growth forest near the Southworth Ferry Terminal in southern Kitsap County. Keep your eyes open for wildlife in this remote area. There are no long hills, but plenty of short climbs. Mostly hard-packed trail surface, but tends to drain into frequent puddles in rainy weather. Trails around the perimeter are drier than those in the middle. Some trails are smooth and straight, while others are twisty with roots.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 9.5
Although the Black Diamond–Green River Gorge Loop starts out at a noisy freeway interchange, it quickly leaves that behind to travel a historic road that’s changed little in the past one hundred years. As you leave the Park and Ride lot, you’ll cross the placid Green River and turn right onto Southeast Green Valley Road. This farm-to-market road served an agricultural community that was so close-knit that, as recently as 1970, a sign at this end listed all the families and how far up the road they lived. The road dates back to the 1880s and some buildings survive from that era.
Auburn, WA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 34.5
The only off-road bicycling at Mount Rainier National Park is this abandoned and deteriorating road that has been permanently closed to motor vehicles. The route follows the meandering, milky-white Carbon River, which drains the lowest glacier in the park. Bicyclists can park their rides and take short strolls to an old copper mine or waterfall, or hike 3.5 miles to the glacier.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 10.2
The Cedar River Trail makes a beeline on its way out of Renton across the valley toward the foothills of the Cascades. It’s no wonder. This popular rail-totrail path follows the route of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad, whose highballing silk trains historically rushed that precious commodity on the final leg of its transport from Asia to East Coast markets.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 31.6
The Centennial Trail takes its name from the one hundredth anniversary of Washington State, when the first 7-mile section of the abandoned Burlington Northern Railroad route through Snohomish County was opened to the public as a rail trail.
Monroe, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 59.6
This “sufferfest” in the eastside Seattle suburbs takes you to a high overlook on Cougar Mountain that at one time served as an anti-aircraft gun emplacement and a missile base. Otherwise, it’s a flat ride along valley roads with a stop in the historic mining and lumber village of Issaquah.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 23.7
As you motor past commercial strip development and suburban housing sprawl, it might be difficult to believe that some get-away-from-it-all mountain bike trails are available at the end of the road. That’s the case at Dash Point State Park. The 398-acre park is bordered by the Puget Sound on one side and Federal Way on the other three.
Tacoma, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 10.4
The bike ride starts at the entrance to the east parking lot at the visitor center, about 0.1 mile inside the park. There are a few displays inside the building and an information desk. Detailed maps are for sale here, and free ones are available at a kiosk outside. The route snakes through a meadow, making a U-shaped turn to the right. Many native grasses and flowering plants adorn this area on the bluff , which affords some of the best views of the Olympic Peninsula. Keep an eye open for coveys of quail scampering across the old road here. Between this meadow, the seashore, and the forests, birdwatchers have identified some 270 species of birds, making the park a prime destination for birders. Bald eagles and other raptors are commonly seen here, and owls silently patrol the skies in the evening.
Seattle, WA - Hiking,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 4.7
Duthie Hill Park is nothing less than an outdoor amusement park for mountain bikers. The 130-acre county park in the Issaquah Highlands features single-track trails and freestyle runs that are suitable for all levels. Dedicated solely to the pursuit of mountain biking, the park was developed by the King County Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 5.4
The flat Snoqualmie Valley and the ridges bordering it are a popular destination for cyclists looking for good country air and low traffic. So many clubs and charities sponsor rides on these farm roads that riders might have difficulty distinguishing the directional markings painted at the intersections.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 30.3
One look at the modern reincarnations of train station platforms at the East Puyallup Trailhead and you immediately realize that the Foothills Trail through northern Pierce County is a rail trail. This paved, 12-foot-wide trail follows a historic route of the Northern Pacific Railroad, which today has become the BNSF Railway. It starts at a point just east of Puyallup for a bicycle-friendly altitude gain of less than 400 feet over the 15 miles to South Prairie.
Puyallup, WA - Hiking,Mountain Biking,Road Biking - Trail Length: 29.5
Tame to wild in under 30 minutes—that’s the time frame for traveling by mountain bike from downtown Issaquah to the quiet depths of Grand Ridge Park. This route promises steep dirt trails that can prove a little tricky up to and down from the ridgelines. Otherwise, the well-maintained single track meanders freely through the dense forest. The terrain is very steep getting up and down the ridge; also a set of switchbacks deep in the park. Watch for other mountain bikers, occasional equestrians, and hikers. The trail can get busy on weekends and summer evenings. Rocky paths and tree roots can be slippery when it’s wet.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 14.5
This bicycle route borrows heavily from a defunct trolley line to find its way from the Green Lake Park area in Seattle to the waterfront in downtown Edmonds. The Green Lake to Edmonds Loop partly follows the path of the old Interurban Trolley that ran until 1939. Today that corridor comprises bike lanes on residential streets and several sections of the Interurban Trail, as well as Seattle’s first European-style cycle track on Linden Avenue. The ride begins across the street from Green Lake Park, a magnet for people seeking outdoor pursuits in an urban setting. Many children have learned to ride their bikes on the 2.8-mile trail around the lake, and kayakers come here for recreation and competition. Early plans for the park almost didn’t come to fruition, however, as housing reached the lake’s edge before the city could acquire parkland in the early 1900s.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 24.5
Recreational cyclists had been enjoying the flat, curvy ride along the Green River south of Seattle for years without realizing the true nature of that asphalt trail. That all changed one day in 2009 when heavy construction equipment arrived to deposit 4-foot-high sandbags that obliterated the trail for the next three years. The route starts at Fort Dent Park, originally the site of a Duwamish tribal village and later a military blockhouse to protect the area’s settlers. The 54-acre park is home to the Starfire Sports Complex, which manages the soccer fields and provides ample parking.
Monroe, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 20.1
The common name for the Black Diamond mountain bike area refers to the old coal-mining town nearby, not the difficulty of the single track that wends through the woods just up the road on SR 169. The trail network offers biking for all skill levels. Whether you like flowy, technical, or basic bump-over-rocks-and-roots riding, it’s all here. Originally an assortment of volunteer paths on private land, the three trail areas are either on public land or property owned by a church that’s friendly to mountain bikers. Each area has acquired its own biking personality and character. What they have in common is how the county staff or church leaders worked with local mountain bikers.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 14.2
Did you ever want to take a long bike ride that was all downhill? Well, this can be that ride. The John Wayne Pioneer Trail is a rail trail that rolls over the Cascades on its way across two-thirds of the state. The most popular ride, however, is the 21-mile one-way downhill stretch that starts with a spin through a dark tunnel and features awesome views from railroad trestles. It requires a car shuttle between Cedar Falls and Hyak. Note: The Snoqualmie Tunnel is usually closed between November and May because of snow. Access to the trail is limited, and the shuttling doesn’t work if the tunnel is closed. You’ll need a state park Discover Pass ( to use the parking lot.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 21.4
This bike ride around Lake Sammamish offers more than a clockwise spin around a picturesque lake. It starts out as a flat jaunt on a rail trail that passes among expensive lakefront homes, climbs to lake overlooks from the hills above, and ends with a screaming downhill run to the start. This northern section of trail was the first to be widened and paved, followed by a section in Issaquah in 2013. Plans call for the seven or eight miles in between to be paved as well. If trail crews are paving during your ride, expect to detour onto the wide shoulder of East Lake Sammamish Boulevard as you continue south. Your first unobstructed views of the lake emerge after passing the lake-side woods at the north end.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 23.5
When the first white settlers arrived in the Seattle area in the mid-1800s, Lake Union sat isolated in the midst of a giant forest. It was called “small lake” by the local Duwamish tribe, but one of Seattle’s early mayors renamed it Lake Union with the vision of linking it with the larger Lake Washington to the east and the Puget Sound to the west.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 10.4
Many voyages begin or end around Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood. Swank cruise ships come and go at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal in the southeast, everything from little dinghies to luxury yachts pass through the ship canal locks in the north, and massive container ships handling trade from Asia ply the Puget Sound to the west and south.
Seattle, WA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 13.6