Learning to ride a bike is one of the quintessential milestones of childhood, and once kids figure it out, there's just no stopping them! If you need a little help figuring out which bike is right for your child, check out these tips. In case you're looking for local options for honing those biking skills, we've put together a few of our favorites.
SNOQUALMIE VALLEY TRAIL
- Distance: Fall City - Snoqualmie (5.7 miles one-way); Snoqualmie - North Bend (10.6 miles one-way)
- Surface: hard-pack crushed rock
- Good for: All ages - accessible for jogging strollers, bike trailers, hybrid bikes and mountain bikes
- Parking and Restrooms available: 4200 block of SE 356th Place; just off 202 and up the hill.
- Why you should go: My girls love this ride because we cross a railroad trestle bridge and end at a tunnel. Be sure to check the acoustics for echo-making. I like taking the trail in this direction because there's a very slight elevation change on the way out which makes for a nice easy coast/pedal on the way back. The trail in Snoqualmie ends at Tokul Road – walk up the hill and continue to ride down into town to visit Snoqualmie Falls or grab a bite to eat.
- Distance: Less than 4 miles round trip from the Lake Alice trail head
- Surface: paved
- Good for: All ages - accessible for strollers, bike trailers, hybrid bikes and road bikes
- Parking and Restrooms available: Park at the Lake Alice trail head, accessed via Lake Alice Rd from Preston-Fall City Road in Fall City. Portable toilets are available at the trail head as well as at the turnaround point.
- Why you should go: Actually, WAIT to go on this ride! Partially because King County is replacing a culvert this summer, closing Lake Alice Road until August 28th; but also because this short and sweet offers a great payoff at the end and is better seen when the leaves have dropped – a little-seen view of Snoqualmie Falls!
DUTHIE HILL MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK
- Where: located on the Sammamish Plateau
- Surface: about 6 miles of dirt trails, berms, ladders, and jumps
- Good for: all ages; not good for training wheels
- Parking and Restrooms: there's a newly opened parking lot just off SE Issaquah-Fall City Road
- Why you should go: This is a nearby and well-marked way to introduce even the youngest kids to mountain biking. Look for the Green trails for the most family-friendly routes. For more adventuresome riders, Luke Talbot of Compass Outdoor Adventures recommends "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, add in the Deuces Wild Trail and Jubilani and working your way up from there."
SNOQUALMIE BIKE PARK
- Where: The bike park is part of Fisher Creek Park, a city park that has a playground, basketball courts, fields, restrooms and a wooded area. The bike skills park is located on the upper lot.
- Surface: The intermediate course is a more difficult free ride bike trail. It has mandatory jumps and drops and no alternate routes are provided.
- Good for: older, more experienced riders who are ready for a challenge
- Why you should go: The Park is designed for all ages to learn the fun skill of riding bicycles on all terrains. The park includes both beginning and intermediate bike courses. Pads are recommended and helmets are required.
- Distance: 400 meters (about a quarter of a mile)
- Surface: Paved outdoor bicycle racing track
- Good for: All ages - even scooters and training wheels will work here
- Parking and Restrooms available throughout the park
- Why you should go: This is probably one of the most unique and kid-friendly places to ride! You may even want to attend an actual race and watch experienced riders - admission is $5 and kids under 16 are free. On the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month, there's a Kiddie Kilo for kids ages 2 to 12 years old during the race, so you can spectate and try the track!
JOHN WAYNE PIONEER TRAIL / SNOQUALMIE TUNNEL
- Distance: Approximately 7 miles (Hyak to Annette Lake trail heads) to 12 miles (Hyak to McClellan Butte trail heads) one way
- Good for: older children and confident bikers – although a gentle grade and light gravel surface, there is loose gravel in spots and the tunnel is dark and damp. Appropriate for mountain bikes, hybrid bikes and older children will be ok in a trailer bike attached to an adult bicycle.
- Parking and Restrooms available: You will want to plan ahead for this ride as a one-way trip heading from Snoqualmie Pass to the west with two cars to shuttle between trail heads. A NW Forest Pass is required at Annette Lake (exit 47 off I-90) or McClellan Butte (exit 42 off I-90) trail head, and a Discover Pass is required at the Hyak/Gold Creek (exit 54 off I-90) parking area, as it is part of Iron Horse State Park. Vault toilets are available at the trail heads.
- Why you should go: The Snoqualmie Tunnel! At 2.3 miles long near the beginning of your trip, it is the nation’s longest tunnel open to non-motorized traffic. Again, be sure to bring a headlamp, and pack a jacket, as the tunnel is cold and dark. It can be disorienting, so a headlamp or lamp attached to your bikes is a must. Once on the west side of the tunnel, you’ll cross high railroad trestles and be treated to spectacular views of the Cascades!
The Let's Roll! Bike Rides to Try with your Family Guide is sponsored by
The Black Duck Cask and Bottle House in Issaquah.
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