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SEATTLE’S BEST BIKE TRAILS

9 PLACES

UPDATED OCT 3, 2019

With bike lanes throughout the city and mountainous trails, Seattle has us busting out our bikes at all times of the year. Hit one of these local favorites to fire up those quads.

author

ARIEL GROB

FITT SEATTLE CONTRIBUTOR

Spanning over 18 miles from Bothell through Seattle’s northern neighborhoods and ending in Ballard, the Burke-Gilman Trail is our go-to north end paved bike path. While it’s almost always lined with bikers and runners, the phenomenal views of the Ballard Locks, the mountains, Lake Union, and the Seattle skyline make it well worth the crowds. Bonus: you can wave to our favorite Seattle landmark—the Fremont Troll—as you pedal by.

If you’re looking to change up your typical city bike route, head just north of Greenlake Park for the Interurban Trail (North). This path will wind you through Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Alderwood, and, if you keep at it, 24 miles later you’ll find yourself near the Snohomish River in Everett. Along the way you’ll stumble across quirky trail-side art installations and enough gorgeous greenery to refuel your evergreen heart.

Hugging the shoreline of Lake Washington, this trail is one of the most beautiful in the city at any time of year, but especially in the fall when the leaves are ablaze in vibrant oranges and reds or in spring when cherry blossoms are scattered across the path. The entire loop is a whopping 50 miles long, so if you’re training for the STP or the Courage Classic, you might just want to tackle the whole thing. Otherwise, we’d recommend starting at Madison Valley’s Washington Park Arboretum and heading south to Seward Park.

Just north of Pike Place Market, you’ll find the whimsical Olympic Sculpture Park and the Elliott Bay trailhead. This waterfront path will wind you through Myrtle Edwards Park and Centennial Park, landing you on Smith Cove and offering gorgeous views of the Olympics and the Seattle waterfront. Lined with so many beautiful green spaces and at only 3.5 miles long, this easy-going trail pairs perfectly with your fresh air HIIT or acro yoga session… or brunch at the Market.

Every February, Bainbridge Islands hosts the ‘Chilly Hilly’: a 33-mile bike race looping the island and scaling its hilly trails. Race or no race, this trail makes for an amazing and classically PNW ride. Not only is this trail lined with evergreens and phenomenal views of the sound, you get to take a ferry from Seattle to get there. And biking aside, if you haven’t done the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry, stop what you’re doing now, grab a coat and your camera, and head down to the waterfront, STAT.

Made up of paved bike path, a portion of the Burke-Gilman Trail, and a handful of low-traffic streets, the entire Cheshiahud trail is lined with epic Seattle views: the city skyline from Gas Works park, the canal from the Fremont Bridge, and, of course, the Olympics to the east and the Cascades to the west. And at only six miles long, you have the option of keeping it chill or taking a few laps to fire up those quads.

There is a reason so many people flock to Alki Beach at all times of the year: the views are unbeatable. From the east side of the beach, you can take in the entire Seattle skyline, beautifully framed by the Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains. And from the west side, on a clear day you’ll see the crisp, snow-covered Olympics in all their glory. This trail is undeniably crowded, but with designated bike-only paths, you’ll be able to cut around beach-walkers and rollerbladers with ease.

If you live in the south end (hey, Central District- and Columbia City-dwellers!) and don’t feel like battling I-5 or the Ballard Bridge to get to the Interurban Trail (North), head to Chief Sealth Trail. Starting at the southwest end of Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill, this path cuts through Rainier Valley, ending in the peaceful and absolutely stunning Kubota Garden. Clocking in at nine miles there and back, this trail makes for a great weekend ride.

The I-90 trail, more endearingly deemed the ‘Mountain to Sound Greenway’ or occasionally the ‘John Wayne Trail’ (yup, as in the John Wayne) spans east to west across nearly the entire state. If you’ve driven across the I-90 bridge, you’ve probably seen bikers riding parallel to your car on this very trail. Get started on Dearborn just east of the I.D., and get ready for gorgeous views of Lake Washington. Note: if you find yourself at the Columbia River, you’ve gone too far to make it home in time for dinner.

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