Seattle has it going on when it comes to two-wheeled adventures. In fact, Travel & Leisure recently named Seattle one of the best cities in the world for biking. And I’m not surprised. I lived in Seattle for about 4 years and I found Seattle biking to be pretty darn epic. With dozens of miles of waterfront bike paths, numerous bike lanes that allow for easy and safe commutes, buses equipped with bike racks, two thriving bike clubs (one for roadies and one for dirt-seekers), and access to mountain bike trails just a short drive away, Seattle is a bike-enthusiasts playground.
But if you’re not familiar with the Emerald City, it can be a little daunting to know the best ways to experience Seattle by bike. So in this post, I round up a few of my favorite ways to explore Seattle on two wheels including Seattle’s bike paths, biking events, and more!
Ready to explore the Emerald City on two wheels? Here are the best Seattle biking adventures for locals and visitors alike.
Where to rent bikes in Seattle
If you don’t have your own set of two wheels in the Emerald City, here are a few places to get them:
Pedal Anywhere – Pedal Anywhere delivers bikes on-demand in the Seattle area. How cool is that? You reserve your bike ahead of time online and then they deliver it right to your door, whether that’s an Airbnb, hotel, or friend’s house. They have a wide range of bikes available including high-end road bikes and simple cruisers.
evo – evo’s flagship store in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle rents city bikes, e-bikes, and mountain bikes. I demoed a mountain bike from them a few years ago to take to Tiger Mountain and they were great!
Lime Bikes – The streets of Seattle are sprinkled with lime green electric bikes (and scooters) that are available on-demand. If you’ve never used a bike share program (or ridden an e-bike!) Lime is a great option. Just download the app to your phone, locate the nearest bike, and get rolling! (Helmets are not provided, so bring your own).
Seattle Biking Adventures
1. Cruise along one of Seattle’s Many Bike Paths
You can almost get anywhere in Seattle via one of its bike paths, which is awesome for commuters. If you’re a visitor, these bike paths are also a great way to see the city. Here are a few of the best urban trails for Seattle biking.
The Burke-Gilman Trail
The 27-mile paved Burke-Gilman Trail is the longest and probably most well-known bike path in the city. It runs from the beautiful Golden Gardens beach on the Puget Sound all the way east through Ballard and the University District. It then follows the western shores of Lake Washington north to Kenmore and out to Woodinville where it turns into the Sammamish River Trail that continues on even further!
You can hop on the Burke-Gilman Trail anywhere you’d like, but I recommend exploring the quiet section that parallels Lake Washington.
Elliot Bay Trail
The Elliott Bay Trail starts in downtown Seattle and winds its way 5 miles (one-way) along the waterfront and out to Elliott Bay Overlook in Smith Cove Park. It’s a beautiful trail with lots of cool art along the way and plenty of places to stop for a picnic by the water. The Elliott Bay Trail does get pretty busy on the weekends, so be prepared to dodge other bikers and pedestrians.
You can also link the Elliott Bay Trail to the Burke-Gilman Trail at 20th Avenue West via the 20th Ave Cycletrack that will take you into Ballard.
Green Lake Trail
Green Lake is another of my favorites. Located north of downtown, the Green Lake Trail is a 3-mile paved loop around the popular and beautiful Green Lake. There are plenty of places to stop and sit by the water or grab a coffee while you watch ducks and swans wattle their way into the water.
The Alki Trail is a 4.4-mile (one-way) paved path that runs along Alki Beach in West Seattle. It offers amazing views of Seattle from across Elliot Bay and it’s a great place to enjoy a flat, mellow pedal along the water.
If you’re feeling up for extra miles (or you’re on an e-bike) you can get to Alki Beach by pedaling over the West Seattle from downtown via bike path and then return to the city on the West Seattle Ferry that leaves from Alki Beach.
2. Join in on a Seattle biking event or tour
Seattle hosts a ton of bike events throughout the year (yes, even during the gray, drizzly winters!) Here are a few of the best Seattle biking events to sign up for:
The Chilly Hilly is an event that I really wanted to participate in when I lived in Seattle but never got around to for one reason or another. To the less adventurous it may sound like a suffer-fest (miles of hilly riding during the prime PNW month of February), but – call me crazy – I kinda like those sort of adventures!
The Chilly Hilly is put on by the Cascade Bicycle Club every February and the route traverses 33-miles across Bainbridge Island. There is free food available mid-ride and a homemade chili feast to help you warm up at the end. Learn more about the Chilly Hilly ride.
Bike the STP or RSVP
The STP and RSVP rides aren’t specifically ‘Seattle’ but they do start in the Emerald City and if you’re looking to get a feel of the PNW from the vantage point of two wheels, then I highly recommend signing up for one or the other (or both!).
The STP is a 206-mile semi-supported ride from Seattle to Portland that happens every July. Some riders do it in one day (the crazies) and other riders make it a 2-day affair.
The RSVP is a 185-mile semi-supported ride from Seattle to Vancouver, BC in August. Again, most riders do it in two days, but you can choose your own adventure.
For both the STP and RSVP, your bags are transported by volunteers to the mid-way point, but you have to make your own accommodation arrangements. Transportation is available for you and your bike back to Seattle post-ride.
Learn more about the STP and RSVP on the Cascade Bicycle Club’s Event Page.
Join in on the Fremont Solstice Parade
The Fremont Solstice Parade is a sight to behold. Hundreds of costume-clad cyclists (many of them naked), homemade puppets and floats, and stilt-walkers gather together in Fremont for a day of celebration and festivities. Most people ride the parade on a fabulously decorated bike, so if you’re feeling inspired, join them! The parade happens every June in Fremont on the solstice.
Bike n Brews
The Seattle Bike n’ Brews is another event put on by the Cascade Bicycle Club. It happens every spring and it’s exactly what it sounds: a bike tour of Seattle with a Brewfest party at the end. Cyclists ride along the Duwamish and Green River Trails from Georgetown to Tukwila, taking in the Seattle sights and optional beer stops along the way. That’s pretty much all you need to know, right? Sign up here.
Seattle Bicycle Tours
If you’re looking for a Seattle biking tour, these are your guys. Seattle Bicycle Tours offers a variety of adventures around the city from an e-bike tour of Bainbridge Island to an epic tour of all the best sights around the city. Since Seattle is such a bike-friendly town, most of the tours are on bike paths and trails.
3. Enjoy a Quiet Getaway by bike
Seattle biking isn’t just limited to the city of Seattle. There’s actually a TON of great rides and short trips that can start from the city. Here are a few fun getaways that can either be done in a day or over a long weekend.
Bike to Woodinville for a wine-tasting weekend
Woodinville is a small little community northeast of Seattle that is basically the Napa or Sonoma of western Washington. The quaint town is home to tasting rooms (definitely hit up DeLille and William Church), great restaurants (Purple Cafe is delicious), lots of cute Bed & Breakfasts, and the best part? The Burke-Gilman Trail takes you all the way there! Just hop on the trail in Seattle and take it north to Woodinville.
I did this trip as a little weekend getaway with I lived in Seattle and it was so much fun. Expect to bike for about 20 miles one-way along the Burke-Gilman depending on where you start and end.
Take a ferry to Bainbridge or Vashon Islands
Explore the beautiful islands of Vashon and Bainbridge by bike! Half of the fun is taking the ferry over from downtown Seattle, which offers amazing views of the Sound and mountains in the distance. You can easily make Vashon or Bainbridge a day trip or snag an Airbnb and spend a few days seeking out the best views and quietest backroads on the island.
There’s also a ton of opportunity for delicious food and coffee on both Bainbridge and Vashon. On Bainbridge hit up Blackbird Bakery and on Vashon pedal out to the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie.
4. Pedal a classic Seattle route
Seattle has a handful of classic bike routes, but these two are my favorite because of their views, treat stops, and limited traffic:
Ride around Lake Washington
The 50-mile Ride Around Lake Washington route circumnavigates Lake Washington and is one of Seattle’s biking classics. A good portion of the route is on bike path: Burke-Gilman to the west and Lake Washington Trail to the east. If you’re not feeling up for the full 50-miles you can cut the loop short by crossing over either the I-90 or RS 520 bridges, both of which have separated bike paths.
This loop is a beautiful ride with plenty of options to stop for delicious coffee and tasty snacks. If you can, try to ride it in the spring when the cherry blossoms are blooming.
Ride around Mercer Island
Riding around Mercer Island is one of my favorite bike rides in Seattle. Mercer Island is a 13 square mile piece of land that sits between Seattle to the west and Bellevue to the east. It’s definitely a wealthy community, but as such, the roads are quiet and the views are gorgeous. The whole loop is about 13.5 miles and there are plenty of places to stop for good coffee, food, and views of the sound.
If you’re coming from Seattle, you can bike over the I-90 bridge and complete the Mercer Island loop from that direction.
5. Shred Some Seattle Dirt
If singletrack is more your style, head out of the city and explore one of the area’s epic mountain biking networks. Two of my favorites are Duthie Hill and Tiger Mountain.
Duthie Mountain Bike Park
Duthie is a compact little mountain bike park about half an hour (if traffic is good) outside of Seattle near Issaquah. It’s pretty dialed and has everything from flow tracks to massive jumps. All of the trails loop back onto themselves and start/end at a central pavilion, so it’s hard to get lost. If you’re new to mountain biking stick to the green and blue trails. This place can get packed on weekends, so try to hit it on a weekday.
Tiger Mountain & Raging River
Tiger Mountain and Raging River are two other great places to explore mountain bike trails near Seattle. They’re situated right next to each other outside of North Bed and they both have a bigger network of singletrack than Duthie, but expect to work for it.
The climb up Master Link at Tiger Mountain is a bit of a grind, but the descents are worth it! For Raging River, the Ridge Trail is definitely worth a lap.
Which Seattle biking adventures are on your bike-it list? Which ones did I miss? Give us your tips and recommendations in the comments below!