5 Best Bike Routes in Seattle
One of our favorite ways to explore Seattle is by bike. While it can be hilly, the views, breeze in your hair, and pace cannot be beat.
1. Burke-Gilman Trail
There's a reason why the Burke-Gilman Trail is one of the most popular biking and running trails in all of Seattle. The trail stretches from Ballard on the west up to Kenmore to the north. Following an historic rail corridor, the trail covers miles of Lake Washington, University of Washington, Fremont, Wallingford, and Ballard.
The trail weaves through industrial areas, business districts, residential areas, and beautiful wooded parks. Be sure to stop at Gas Works Park or one of the many cafes and breweries along the trail for a pick-me-up. This is a paved trail great for all wheeled activities. If you're looking to ride fast, be sure to go early in the morning as weekend afternoons become packed with runners, walkers, and cyclists.
2. Lake Washington Loop - now partly car-free!
For the intense road riders among us, the Lake Washington Loop is a popular choice. Following Lake Washington through Seattle, Bryn-Mawr/Skyway, Renton, Bellevue, Medina, Kirkland, Kenmore, and Lake Forest, this loop provides a great mix of on-street and trail riding folks looking for a long ride.
In response to COVID-19, Seattle Department of Transportation has closed a portion of Lake Washington Boulevard between Mount Baker Beach and Seward Park to cars. This 3-mile stretch provides stunning lake and mountain views and, without the pressure of oncoming Tesla traffic, is a great slow ride or family-friendly route. Learn more about the City's Stay Healthy Street initiative here.
3. Washington Park Arboretum
Are you looking for a relaxing cruise through nature? Check out the Washington Park Arboretum! There are dozens of paved trails throughout the park that weave through the different botanical gardens. On one ride you can view rainbow rhododendrons, towering pine trees, dessert grasses, and wetlands. This is a great ride for families and is especially popular on weekend afternoons. Be sure to go slow and stop and smell the roses (and hundreds of other plants being cultivated!)
BONUS: this trail is a scenic connection between UW/Burke-Gilman Trail, the SR-520 trail, and the Lake Washington Loop
4. I-90 Trail/Mountains to Sound Trail
This trail follows I-90 from Beacon Hill on the west through Seattle, across Lake Washington, through Mercer Island, and to Bellevue and beyond on the East Side. The trail is relatively flat (as far as Seattle rides go) and takes turns following the highway and weaving along the capped portions of the highway. This route provides some great views - downtown Seattle from Dr. Jose Rizal park in Beacon Hill, to the East Side from the East Portal Viewpoint. Be sure to enjoy the many freeway cap parks, the NW African American Museum, and Downtown Mercer Island while traveling this route.
5. State Route 520 Bridge Trail
This new trail follows the SR-520 bridge from Seattle to Bellevue. Much like the I-90 Trail, this trail provides stunning views of Lake Washington and Mount Rainier. It also includes great views of the University of Washington - Husky Stadium, Foster Island, and the Montlake Cut. It was designed to include numerous pull-over areas with benches and views of the endless boaters traveling between Lake Washington and Lake Union to the west. The interchange at SR-520 and Montlake Boulevard (the Seattle/western terminus of the trail) is currently under construction so navigation can be tricky. Be sure to follow detour signs and watch out for traffic heading north-south along Montlake Boulevard.
Do you want to see more biking content? If you're interested in seeing a sample ride post (where to go, what to try along the way) or posts about biking outside Seattle (gravel trails, other PNW cities) let us know in the comments below. Have a favorite route? Share that with us too!