Three Best Bike Rides with Kids
The Mountains to Sound Greenway is crisscrossed with some amazing bike rides for both kids and adults. From gravel trails, to singletrack, to paved regional trails, there are abundant opportunities to get your family on bikes just minutes from your front door. Here are three of our favorite local rides.
Number One – The John Wayne Trail and the Snoqualmie Tunnel
Suitable for kids as young as nine years old, the John Wayne Trail and Snoqualmie tunnel is a 23-mile downhill ride all the way to Rattlesnake Lake. At the very beginning, you’ll ride through an abandoned railway tunnel that is completely dark and 2.3 miles long! Make sure you use a bike light, headlamp, or flashlight (duct tape works well) and wear a light jacket and gloves. One more word to the wise…take off your sunglasses when you enter the tunnel. Your headlight will work far better. I’m not going to say how many times I’ve forgotten this bit of advice.
After the tunnel, you’ll have amazing views and scenery of the I-90 corridor and the Cascade mountains and foothills. The trail follows the valley and crosses over trestle bridges, forested glades, and wide-open scenic overlooks. After three to four hours, you’ll end up at the Cedar Falls Trailhead, and just a few more pedal strokes brings you to Rattlesnake Lake. We ALWAYS take a quick dunk in the lake after this ride and it is well worth it!
- Duration – 3 – 5 Hours
- Appropriate for – 9 Years old and Up
- Adventure Tips – Bring plenty of food, water, and sunscreen
- Parking – Iron Horse State Park at Hyak (east end of trail) and Cedar Falls Trailhead/Iron Horse State Park at Rattlesnake Lake (west end of trail); need two cars to make this a one-way trip; Discover Pass required for parking at both trailheads.
Special:as we bike through the Snoqualmie Tunnel on the Greenway Trek! The Greenway will provide the shuttle service, snacks, and more.
Number Two – Riding the I-90 Bridge
We always encourage kids to go on adventures that they brag to their parents about. This ride is one of those adventures. Riding across the I-90 bridge is as thrilling as it is rewarding and suitable for kids down to seven or eight years old (if you’re patient).
Parking at the, riders take a short downhill ride and ride onto the bridge. A dedicated bikeway, you do need to urge your children to stay in their lane as oncoming bike traffic can be moving quickly.
Across the bridge you’ll find dedicated, well lit, tunnels specifically for bikes and a few parks as well.
Riding back you’ll find a bit more of an uphill grade but if you continue past Aubrey Davis and onto Luther Burbank Park, you’ll find my kids’ favorite playground in the Seattle area.
- Duration – 1-2 Hours
- Appropriate for – 8 Years old and up
- Adventure Tips – Luther Burbank Park zipline, and advanced talk about 2-way bike lanes
- Parking – Aubrey Davis Park on Mercer Island, no pass required for parking
Number Three – Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park
I’ve ridden with folks from all over the world at Duthie and every single one is amazed and simultaneously jealous of this park in our backyard. This a 120-acre, bike-specific park, with over six miles of trail catering to all skill levels.
We take kids and beginners there as young as 4 year olds. My youngest daughter rode all of the Bootcamp Trail on a balance bike!
For those new to mountain biking, the best trails to start on are Bootcamp and the Luna Chicks Jump Line as well as the skills park in the main clearing. As riders progress, we suggest adding in the Deuces Wild Trail and Jubilani and working your way up from there.
- Duration – 2 Hours and up
- Appropriate for – 6 Years old and up
- Adventure Tips – Start with short excursions which will make kids leave excited and happy. Bring snacks. All trails are one way trails.
- Parking – Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park near Issaquah/Sammamish, no pass required for parking
No matter where you ride with your family, you’ll find it a rewarding experience both physically and mentally, and with the right attitude and effort, you’ll build an activity that your children will beg you to do.