Biking With Kids

kid on bike

This guide includes directions for some rides I have done with my kids and some ideas of times and places to bicycle with kids. Some hints to creating an enjoyable day of biking with your children:

Ride Descriptions:

Burke Gilman Trail

Paved Trails in the Puget Sound Area

Outside Greater Seattle

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Rides along the Burke Gilman Trail

Easy, flat, indeterminate length, good for beginners

Start at Blyth Park in Bothell. There is a playground and picnic area in the park. At the park entrance a paved trail leads to the Burke Gilman Trail at the bridge crossing where the Sammamish trail begins. Continue on the Sammamish/ Burke Gilman trail heading NE (I think!) towards Bothell (don't cross the bridge). The Burke Gilman trail tends to thin out after Bothell, making riding with kids a little more enjoyable (you don't have to worry as much about them being wiped out by a 28 MPH pace line training for the Ramrod). Continue on the trail as far as you like, then turn around and ride back to the park. This ride is flat, free of motor vehicle traffic (although not completely safe from traffic--kids will need to know and conform to the rules of the road/trail). HINT: Go at about dinner time. We have noticed less trail traffic of all kinds about 5:30 or 6pm.

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Outside Greater Seattle
Kitsap County
Some hills, few services, approx. 15 miles, Intermediate/advanced

Start at the Edmonds ferry to Kingston. Getting off the ferry take a left at NE W Kingston Rd (sign to Indianola). Continue on this road approximately a half a mile. Take a left onto S Kingston Rd NE continue 1 mile at a gentle incline to NE Jefferson Pt Rd, take a left down a steep hill (don't worry, you'll come back a different way!). Stay on Jefferson Pt Rd around a 90 degree curve at 0.8 miles, about 5 miles to a "T". Take a right onto Klabo Rd. Shortly after a curve take a left onto Tulin Rd. There will be a hill (short steep sections with flat areas) then out into some pretty farmland. Contiue straight to join up with S Kingston Rd heading back to town (right at the stop sign). Although there isn't a shoulder (especially since the water lines have gone in) there is very little traffic and people tend to be "biker friendly". There is a public restroom at the Kola Kole park by the playfield (on the highway up from the ferry dock, if you go by the grocery/post office/Ben Franklin you've gone too far). The Pizza Factory by the grocery store serves great pizza for after ride dining.

Centennial Trail, Snohomish
flat, beginners
8 mile paved trail from Snohomish to Lake Stevens. Take 2nd Street through Snohomish, then a left onto Maple Street. The trail begins just north of town on Maple Street. There is street parking at the trail head, and two parking lots along the trail; on Snohomish Machias Road and in Machias. This trail is much less crowded than the Burke Gilman and very scenic. At the end of the paved trail (in Lake Stevens) continue up the short hill on Cuthbertson Rd to Pilchuck Elementary. On the school property is "Children's Oasis" probably the best playground in the state of Washington.

Interurban Trail, Everett to Lynnwood
flat, beginners
This trail follows the route taken by the Interurban Trolley that ran between Ballard and Bellingham until 1939. From the Everett Mall area go south on 84th St SW, the trail is well marked. A couple places are tricky: At 128th St (a freeway overpass) follow the southbound off ramp, go east on 128th Street, turn south on 3rd Ave SE, then west on 130th Street and pass through the drive-in theatre property. At 164th St leave the PUD right of way at 160th Pl SW. Use widened shoulders on 13th Ave, cross 164th St and continue south on 13th Ave crossing back to the PUD right of way on ELDEC easement. ELDEC is private property. The trail seems to end at the Hwy 525 interchange, but actually crosses under the freeway. At the end of the trail turn left up to Butternut Road, follow it north to Maple Road, crossing under I-5 and west to Ash Way. The Trail picks up here and is well marked.

Lynnwood to Scriber Lake
flat, beginners
From the end of the Interurban Trail at the 44th Ave W Park & Ride the Scriber Lake Trail takes off from the parking lot. This trail is well marked and ends at a small park with bathrooms and a playground.

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Paved Multi Use Trails

Green Lake
Flat, Beginners

Green Lake is a lake north of downtown Seattle. It has a 2.8 mile paved multi use path around the lake. There is a playground and an indoor swimming pool at the east end of the lake, miniature golf at the south end and a wading pool at the north end. Bicyle lanes on the street around the lake almost make it all the way around. Green Lake tends to be very busy, especially in summer months. With young inexperienced and unpredictable riders it is best to stick to early morning or cloudy days. There has been some rumblings about closing the inner paved path to bicycles because of heavy traffic, but so far no action. To get to Green Lake: From Seattle Center take Aurora Ave North and exit just past the zoo, from I-5 take the 85th Street exit, take a left at Wallingford Ave, continue on Wallingford Ave to the lake.

Elliot Bay Trail
Flat, beginners

Begin at Myrtle Edwards Park (near Pier 70). Paved trail follows shoreline, lots of large ships to see. Trail continues to the Magnolia bridge. Ride to entrance of Burlington Northern Train Yard and there will be an entrance to a fenced trail through the train yard. The train activity is especially fun for kids. The trail doesn't end near any park, but does have access to the Magnolia loop. From the train yard head up 20th Ave, follow signs to Discovery Park. It is up hill all the way to the park, there are occasional bike lanes.

Flat, beginners
This area tends to be VERY crowded on summer weekends. Early Sunday morning has pretty light traffic. Best to start at the southeast end of Alki. There is a nice trail over the lower West Seattle Bridge, but quite a bit of traffic to get from the bridge to the paved trail. The trail starts at SW Florida St and Harbor Ave.

Interlaken Park
Flat, short, beginner
Always shady, and usually uncrowded, this is a wonderful paved former road on the north side of Capitol Hill. The section closed to traffic is about one mile long, making this a nice ride for the very young beginning biker. From Roanoke St heading east continue on to Delmar St. The second left is Interlaken Blvd, follow until the road is closed to motor vehicles. Or park in a small pull out on Delmar across from Interlaken Blvd and ride on the street (which is lightly travelled).

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Created by Kathleen Lange