National Trails Day is Saturday, and it’s a good time to remember that trails aren’t just for hiking. They’re for bicycling, too.
Here’s a rundown of some Seattle area possibilities this weekend:
King County (WA), for instance, has 180 miles of regional trails with paved or packed gravel surfaces that are suitable for bicycling. Those trails include the Burke-Gilman, Sammamish River, East Lake Sammamish, Green River, Interurban South and more. See the regional trail system here.
In addition, there are countless miles of mountain biking trails through many parks. The backcounty trails at Duthie Hill Park, for instance, are designed soley for mountain bikers. Other trails for mountain biking are located at Taylor Mountain, Soaring Eagle and Grand Ridge county parks. [Bicycles are prohibited on the trails and fire roads at Cougar Mountain Park.]
As a matter of fact, Duthie Hill Park will be the location of Saturday’s 5th annual Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance Festival. This is a great event — it’s free — that features more than 40 mountain bike equipment vendors and opportunities to take demo rides on their bikes. It’s open to all ages, with some events specifically aimed at kids.
Also, the county is officially opening its parking lot for the Black Diamond Open Space Natural Area on Saturday. It’s located south of Maple Valley on the east side of State Route 169. There are miles of mountain biking trails that criss-cross the hills in the area.
The state of Washington is celebrating National Trails Days this weekend in the best way, by not requiring use of the Discover Pass for admission to the park on Saturday or Sunday. See Free Days.
The state parks commission and Department of Natural Resources manages four long-distance trails that are converted from abandoned railroads.
One of these is the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, which at 253 miles is the longest rail-trail in the US. The western 109 miles of its runs through the Iron Horse State Park and can be accessed at the Cedar Falls Trailhead, located south of North Bend.
Another western Washington trail is the largely undeveloped Willapa Trail (56 miles) between Chehalis and South Bend. East of the Cascades, the Columbia Plateau Trail (130 miles) and Centennial Trail (37.5 miles) can be reached in the vicinity of Spokane.
The state also allows mountain biking on many of its trails through state land. Most notable are the trails on the east side of Tiger Mountain State Forest near Seattle. A system of trails winds through the woods at Saint Edward State Park in Woodinville and connects to the county-managed trails at Big Finn Hill Park in Kirkland.
Also close-by is a smaller array of trails at Dash Point State Park in Federal Way.
North and South
Up in Snohomish County is the 30-mile Centennial Trail that runs from the town of Snohomish to the Skagit County border. Trail supporters have a lot celebrate this Trails Day as the final gap in the trail system through Arlington was closed recently. In fact, a grand opening celebration is begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Hubb’s Pizza and Pasta parking lot, 21102 67th Avenue NE, Arlington.
And if we mention the Centennial Trail to the north, we got to include the Foothills Trail in Pierce County. This ever-growing rail-trail starts near Puyallup and runs along scenic rivers to South Prairie. If you check the Foothills Trail Coalition website, you’ll find other sections of the trail that will one day connect Puyallup north to Enumclaw, and south to Fairfax near the Carbon River entrance to Mount Rainier National Park.
See you somewhere out there on Saturday.